Remember the Mac app Sherlock? It was a great little Mac file and search utility from back in the day; the last century, actually– so ancient it ran on Mac OS 8 as a Finder extension.
A few years later, in the early Mac OS X days, Apple incorporated many of Sherlock’s functions and features into Spotlight and Dashboard. Guess what? Sherlock didn’t make it and, now, anytime Apple takes app features from an app developer, they get Sherlocked.
Recent Sherlocks – Alright, let’s be fair. A feature in a third party application can be, uh, well, inspiration for Apple to do the same for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Move along. Nothing new to see here. But Sherlocked carries it one step further when Apple absconds with an entire application; features and functions.
WWDC’s recent show’n tell gave us a few new examples of Apple putting the Sherlock onto the very developers who were sitting in the audience watching the presentation.
PCalc – this is one of my favorite and most used apps on Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch. It has a nominal price tag and a plethora of features and functions. PCalc is much beloved by Apple customers. Our favorite iPhone maker just pulled a Sherlock on the developer by bringing Calculator to Apple Watch. No, it won’t be the same as PCalc, but it won’t matter because most customers don’t need what PCalc needs and will be happy with a boring Calculator.
Wait. There’s more!
Duet Display – is one of very few ways to use an iPad as an external display for the Mac. It works. Download the Duet apps, plug the iPad into a Mac, fire up the app, and the iPad becomes a very usable external display for Mac notebooks.
Apple just tried to put the Sherlock move on Duet, too, by introducing Sidecar for macOS Catalina. Sidecar is Apple’s own way of using a connected iPad’s display as the external display for a Mac.
Both Duet and PCalc have more going for customers than Apple’s own Sherlock-like replacements. Competition breeds product improvements and innovation so it will be interesting to see future versions once Apple’s mostly anemic replacements show up in the fall.
Sherlocked is what app developers use to describe what happens to their applications once Apple decides they need similar features for Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Watch.
How would you feel sitting in the audience at Apple’s WWDC 2019 keynote presentation while Apple introduced a new product or feature that was exactly like the one you developed and marketed in recent years?