Within applications on the iPhone, there are ‘actions’. For example, sending a text message is an action within the messages application. The typical manner in which to execute an action is to launch the app and ‘create the action’. Open the ‘Messages’ app and tap the icon to create a new message. A new application from AppCubby allows you to customize all of your favorite and most used actions into one app. Read on for our full Launch Center Pro for iPhone review to see how this app might just change how you think about how to get things done on your phone.
I have fond memories of Launcher programs for Palm OS. It was infinitely easier to manage and open applications. In some ways, this application has many of the same attributes, allowing you to customize a group of apps that you can easily launch. With the design of iOS, it’s often easier to simply swipe and open, provided you’ve customized your home screen with your favorites. The app launcher is only part of the story here and it’s a small part.
The real meat on the bones of LaunchCenter Pro is it’s ability to quickly access frequently used application actions such as creating a new email, text message or even Google search. It takes the same number of taps to create a new email or text message using the respective apps. I see the benefit of using Launch Center Pro as having a single point of contact for a good amount of tasks I commonly perform on my iPhone. Upon unlocking my iPhone, I don’t have to go fishing searching for apps. One could argue this creates a bit of a desktop within a desktop, which is a fair argument. Once within the app, switching gears from say ‘accessing bookmarks’ to ‘accessing custom speed dials’ is a time saver.
From Top To Bottom
The best way to understand this swiss army knife of apps is to do a left to right, top to bottom walkthrough.
The main Launch Center screen is completely customizable, but I’ve found the default settings to be a good start.
Flashlight: No need for a separate app, as you can easily activate the flash when you need a flashlight. Being on Long Island where the power went out 3 days in a row, I can tell you this utility is invaluable.
Toggle: No need to dig deep within your settings to adjust brightness. This quick toggle provides an easy way to lower your brightness.
Google Prompt: Brings up a beautifully designed overlay and keyboard that will allow for you to type and then bring up a related Google search within Safari.
Dial Contact: At first glance, you might think this something pulled from the ‘Phone’ app, but it’s so much more. Tapping the icon brings you to a ‘Contacts’ search. As you type, it’ll start to provide related contacts and each has buttons for each phone number, making it incredibly easy to make a call. This is infinitely more functional when compared to the searching Contacts within the Phone application. So, so good.
New Email: Will launch ‘Mail’ app and create a new message.
New Message: Will launch ‘Messages’ app and create a new text message.
Unlike other rows of actions, the default third row uses contextual screens. Tap and hold will bring up a new screen, where you slide to preferred icon and release to initiate the action. This is such an intuitive way of using my iPhone, that I wish this functionality extended to apps. Tap, hold and swipe is thoroughly enjoyable.
Tap, hold, slide and release when you land on the icon of the bookmark you’d like to launch. These icons are completely customizable using the included graphics. You can pick the icon background and design. While the included designs are well done, I found the resulting icons to be reminiscent of non-stock themes, looking in part like Samsung’s TouchWhiz. This can be good or bad, depending upon your preference.
This section offers a mix of pure app launching to launching particular actions within an app. Unfortunately, both are limited to support by the developer. You cannot launch an app if it’s not supported, regardless of whether it is installed on your iPhone. There are a good number of supported apps, but it’s likely you won’t find one of your favorite apps supported.
Of those supported, some support actions. Tweetbot, which we crowned the best Twitter app for iPhone, supports a slew of actions. With actions, it seems to be hit or miss, on a per app basis. Facebook, Instagram and Yelp enjoy a nice cross section of actions.
LaunchCenter Pro has its very own speed dialer installed. Customizable app icon and you can edit the name of each speed dial. The ‘Dial Number’ feature brings up the neat overlay mentioned above, with a nice dialer below.
All in all, the application homescreen provides 4 rows, 3 columns of customized launching, actions. For apps that are primary, you can opt to keep them on the top level, rather then nested in the Apps section.
This app comes from a small development team, who in one week, managed to create a palpable and very worthy buzz. It changes the way you’ll use your iPhone. I found that I had to virtually rewire your brain after years of actioning tasks through the individual apps. The reliance on the developer to support an app for something as basic as launching is disappointing. I found that was offset by the support of major apps and overall utility. Those concerned about app support, can view an updated list of support apps that might ultimately determine if this app is for you. Those who are not afraid of code, can utilize the URL Action Composer. Overall, this application will have immense appeal for those who enjoy customization without having to jailbreak. At the current price of $2.99 (40% off the current price), it’s hard not to recommend Launch Center Pro.