In addition to using my iPhone as a tool for communication, I also use it to help increase efficiency and productivity in nearly all capacities of my life. When the original Launch Center for iOS debuted a few months ago, I was intrigued by its potential to foster inter-app actions and I snatched it up right away. I used it constantly and the app has remained a staple on my home screen since that first day.
I was quite surprised to learn that the developers of Launch Center yesterday released a stand-alone update to the original app — a new app entirely, really — called Launch Center Pro. At first, I was a bit miffed that they didn’t just push an update to the existing Launch Center app and were now requiring an additional purchase for this new iteration. But after reading Appcubby’s documentation and some of the early app reviews, I decided to pull the trigger and download Launch Center Pro.
I’m thankful I did. What an amazing app. After a few short minutes playing with it, Launch Center Pro has solidified a prime location in my dock.
Installing the app has allowed me to simplify the design of my home screen to include only four apps: Phone, Messages, Sparrow for iOS and Launch Center Pro.
When opening Launch Center Pro, the app quickly jumps to a launchpad-type screen that’s fully customizable. As you can see in the above screen shot, my launchpad consists of five app actions and two group actions (labeled Apps and Jill). I chose these five app actions because they are the most-employed actions on my phone — Adding an OmniFocus inbox item, creating a new note in Simplenote, launching Evernote, starting a new essay in Byword and adding a new appointment to my calendar. Launch Center Pro removes the friction from executing these actions by creating a workflow that’s reduced to one single tap.
What really makes Launch Center Pro scream with speed is the app’s inclusion of text field prompts. Prompts allow you to enter text before the app executes the action, saving time and removing even more friction. I can now add a task to OmniFocus or capture an idea in Simplenote in less than 10 seconds.
This has enormous implications on the way I work. A caveat: Not all apps have the robust URL schemes required to take full advantage of Launch Center Pro’s direct actions. Evernote, for example, does not provide the ability to create a new note from another app, therefore the action in my Launch Center only opens the app. I must create a new note from within.
A new feature in Launch Center Pro is the ability to create groups of actions bundled together in a folder. On my launch pad you can see “Apps” and “Jill.” The apps folder contains all the applications I regularly use, but don’t warrant a direct action on my launchpad. The folder labeled Jill (after my lovely wife) contains communication actions. With one tap I can speed dial or open a message addressed to her. Groups are a great feature and possess untold potential for efficiency and productivity.
Literally overnight, Launch Center Pro has reinvented the way I use my iPhone. I really think it is a must-have app for anyone who does real work with their device. You can get it for $2.99 in the App Store.