Apple removes "Launcher" (customizable app-launching widget) from App Store

pickaxe

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 29, 2012
760
284
This has already been posted in the iOS 8 forum but I felt like this subforum would also find it interesting.

http://al.cromulentlabs.com/thanks/

Launcher (click for screenshot) was a Notification Center widget that allowed the user to add any app or intent as a Notification Center widget. It was remarkably useful and got quite popular. Suddenly, Apple decided that launching of other apps via a widget is forbidden, and gave the developer precious few days before having Launcher pulled.

Why did Apple do this? Since Apple have allowed Launch Center Pro (which does the exact same thing but not in widget form), my guess is that it's either because they don't want to make it too conveniant to use competing services (such as Google Maps or a Beats Music competitor), or because they implemented or are planning to implement it in iOS 9 and don't want anybody releasing a competing product.

Both reasons can be summed up as "anti-competitive behavior" and show how irrelevant Apple's walled-garden approach is becoming.
 
Last edited:

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
6,736
3,750
This has already been posted in the iOS 8 forum but I felt like this subforum would also find it interesting.

http://al.cromulentlabs.com/thanks/

Launcher (click for screenshot) was a Notification Center widget that allowed the user to add any app or intent as a Notification Center widget. It was remarkably useful and got quite popular. Suddenly, Apple decided that launching of other apps via a widget is forbidden, and gave the developer precious few days before having Launcher pulled.

Why did Apple do this? Since Apple have allowed Launch Center Pro (which does the exact same thing but not in widget form), my guess is that it's either because they don't want to make it too conveniant to use competing services (such as Google Maps or a Beats Music competitor), or because they implemented or are planning to implement it in iOS 9 and don't want anybody releasing a competing product.

Both reasons can be summed up as "anti-competitive behavior" and show how irrelevant Apple's walled-garden approach is becoming.
Wow, that does suck. Thankfully I installed in prior to being removed--it's a great little app, just wish I'd upgraded to the Pro version as that's no longer available.

Won't disagree that this is a poor move by Apple--like an upset child storming off with their ball so nobody else can play.
 

richwoodrocket

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2014
2,132
111
Buffalo, NY
Wish I downloaded before I saw it was taken down.
I literally had my finger on the button when I decided not to mere hours before it was taken down.
 

Saturn1217

macrumors 6502a
Apr 28, 2008
986
245
This makes me sad. Something like launcher would have made the transition from android to iOS A LOT smoother.

:(
 

Technarchy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2012
6,753
4,926
I wonder what the exact reason was for its removal. Seems like that tidbit is being left out.

Misuse could mean a lot of things that may be concerning to the user.
 

jeffe

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2008
597
49
I wonder what the exact reason was for its removal. Seems like that tidbit is being left out.

Misuse could mean a lot of things that may be concerning to the user.
According to the blogpost they have "decided to disallow any Notification Center widget that lets you launch other apps". I would assume the 'misuse' is allowing users to launch other apps from the launcher.
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
6,736
3,750
How could one misuse a launcher?
I thought maybe security issue as the notification panel is accessible from the lock screen but touching a launch shortcut still requires Touch ID or PIN.

It's an immensely useful widget so I'm genuinely curious why they removed it. Apple's explanation, at least as provided by the developer doesn't hold water for me as other widgets will take you directly into an app, in essence 'launching' an app.
 

jamezr

macrumors G5
Aug 7, 2011
13,365
11,543
US
According to the blogpost they have "decided to disallow any Notification Center widget that lets you launch other apps". I would assume the 'misuse' is allowing users to launch other apps from the launcher.
I think we can substitute the word "misuse" with "choose" in this case.....
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
6,736
3,750
According to the blogpost they have "decided to disallow any Notification Center widget that lets you launch other apps". I would assume the 'misuse' is allowing users to launch other apps from the launcher.
OK, that is different than launching the app associated with the widget. But if you read the app's help section, the developer explains that not all apps can be launched by a third party and that each app needs to allow that functionality. So if the dev allows it, what' she problem? How is this different from an app allowing extensions to other apps?
 

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
7,613
9,252
Maybe other developers complained? Realize some apps have their notification widgets setup a specific way. Take some News apps for example. They want to expose the headlines on the widget. The same goes for Travel and Shopping apps. Maybe they feel it's unfair for users to be able to launch their app from another widget without their own widget content being shown. Some of that content creates revenue. iOS is different than Android and more revenue driven.

Just my theory.
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
6,736
3,750
Maybe other developers complained? Realize some apps have their notification widgets setup a specific way. Take some News apps for example. They want to expose the headlines on the widget. The same goes for Travel and Shopping apps. Maybe they feel it's unfair for users to be able to launch their app from another widget without their own widget content being shown. Some of that content creates revenue. iOS is different than Android and more revenue driven.

Just my theory.
See my post above yours--per the developer of Launcher, apps need to provide permission allowing this. If they don't want a third party to be able to launch their app or content, they just deny permission. There were specific apps that I'd have liked to be able to launch that I couldn't.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
7,613
9,252
See my post above yours--per the developer of Launcher, apps need to provide permission allowing this. If they don't want a third party to be able to launch their app or content, they just deny permission. There were specific apps that I'd have liked to be able to launch that I couldn't.
Good point. Sorry I missed that.

Or was the developer's intentions for third party app launching more about integration vs widgets?
 

Switchback666

macrumors 68000
Nov 16, 2012
1,600
67
SXM
I was excited when I saw the post about it, downloaded and realize they were shortcuts to settings :( not sure why I expected to be toggles.
 
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