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Our iPhones can do amazing things, but time after time we find ourselves running through the same repetitive taps and swipes to accomplish simple tasks. Launch Center Pro attempts to streamline automation with a unique tap-and-slide interface that offers centralized control over the various actions found within hundreds of apps.
The main screen -- which admittedly looks like a bit like a cheap iOS home screen knock-off -- can be customized with up to 12 actions from a library of simple shortcuts, such as making a call, searching Google, or sending a message to a certain pal. Tapping a stored action quickly launches the appropriate app, but the real improvement over the prior release's list-based interface comes from the ability to organize similar actions into groups.
Let's pretend you're in constant communication with your significant other across multiple apps. Instead of wasting a quarter of your action slots, you can organize their various contacts into a single group; when you tap and hold the icon (also customizable), you only need to slide over to the appropriate square. You can even set alerts so you don't miss a call.
Launch Center Pro's usefulness is dependent on the cooperation of the apps you have installed, so the lion's share of available functions include launching and searching. There's great potential waiting to be unleashed here, but I'm just not sure whether developers are going to be so eager to provide the URL schemes that Launch Center requires. I also found some responsiveness issues throughout -- especially when switching from another app -- and even with the addition of groups, the limit on available actions was something of a hindrance. I also would have liked the option of adding more than one contact to an email or message action.
The bottom line. Launch Center Pro isn't a perfect solution, but as long as Apple keeps iOS locked down, it's the closest thing we'll get to automation.
iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 or later
Clever use of multitouch. Good organization for related tasks. Powerful customization.
Restrictive limit on actions. Too few functions. Can't add multiple recipients.