Apple’s Sherlocked Apps at WWDC 2024

Apple introduced new features of which mirror functionalities previously available only through third-party apps, known as Apple Sherlocked.

At WWDC, Apple introduced new features many of which mirror functionalities previously available only through third-party apps, a phenomenon known as Apple Sherlocked.

What Is Sherlocking?

The term originates from Apple’s release of the Sherlock search tool in the late 1990s, which mimicked and marginalized the existing third-party app Watson. Since then, “Sherlocking” describes Apple’s habit of integrating features into its systems that replicate the functions of third-party apps, often rendering them redundant.

Key Features and Third-Party Counterparts

1. Standalone Password App

  • Sherlocked Apps: 1Password, LastPass, BitWarden, Proton Pass

Apple is launching a new password manager that consolidates passwords in one easily accessible location, potentially reducing the user base for existing third-party password managers.

2. Call Recording and Transcription

  • Sherlocked Apps: TapeACall, Truecaller

Apple now offers native call recording and transcription directly within the Phone app, enhancing user convenience by eliminating the need for third-party apps.

3. Voice Transcription

  • Sherlocked Apps: Otter, AudioPen,

The upcoming updates will introduce voice transcription in Notes and other apps, challenging the space occupied by apps like Otter and AudioPen, which offer specialized transcription services.

4. iPhone Mirroring on Mac

  • Sherlocked App: Bezel

The new feature allows users to mirror their iPhone screen on Mac without the need for cables, potentially overshadowing third-party solutions like Bezel.

5. Window Tiling on Mac

  • Sherlocked Apps: Magnet, Rectangle

macOS Sequoia will include native window tiling capabilities, a standard feature in Windows and Linux systems, which could impact third-party apps offering similar functionalities.

6. Custom Emojis

  • Sherlocked App: Newji

Apple’s new AI engine allows users to create custom emojis from textual prompts, a feature previously available through the Newji app.

7. Custom Maps and Trail Exploration

  • Sherlocked App: Alltrails

Updates to Apple Maps will allow users to explore and customize trail maps, a feature that Alltrails currently offers, though it still holds an advantage with its extensive community and international trail database.

Future of Third-Party Apps

While Apple continues to integrate more advanced features into its operating systems, third-party apps are forced to innovate or focus on niche markets to survive. Apple’s strategy aims to enhance user experience and maintain competitiveness with tech giants like Google and Microsoft, yet it also relies on the diverse app ecosystem for its App Store revenue.

The balance Apple Sherlocked strikes will determine the future landscape for third-party developers, with potential for both collaboration and competition. As Apple integrates more sophisticated tools, particularly those leveraging AI, third-party developers will need to find new ways to differentiate their offerings or cater to specialized or enterprise markets to remain relevant.

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