Launch Center: Shortcuts for the iPhone

I have always loved apps that make it easier to access what I need when I need it. I am all about efficiency and the more time I can save the better, even if it is only seconds, which then turn to minutes, and well, you know how it goes. One of my favorite apps that definitely helps in reducing my time for the Mac is Alfred, which for those of you that don’t know, is a great tool for accessing all the different things on your Mac a lot quicker and easier.

One thing I never got was the fact that the iPhone never had shortcuts — easy ways to get to the things that I do all the time.  So when App Cubby came out with Launch Center, I just had to try it out to see if it would actually help me in my use of the iPhone. It’s a “one stop shop” where you can access a variety of shortcuts to help you make life a little easier on the iPhone.

Setting It Up

Launch Center has taken most of the frequently used actions that are used on the iPhone and puts them in one easy-to-use application. When you first get into it, you are provided with a handful of different shortcuts that can be tweaked to your preference. The Launch Center, as it is called, is the main screen that has all your  shortcuts so that you can access them quickly in the same app.

Launch Center

Launch Center

First, there are what I call the “main” iPhone shortcuts which are Speed Dial, Text Message and Email. These are pretty self-explanatory in that you can configure any one of these into a shortcut for a specific person. So, if I want to put my mom on speed dial, I can create a shortcut that speed dials her number whenever I want to call her up.

Creating a new shortcut

Creating a new shortcut

Secondly, Launch Center has shortcuts for your social networks, mainly Twitter and Facebook. It is pretty basic in that you can only post a message to Facebook and compose a tweet. I think that it is good that I can now do this from one application, but at the same time I felt something was missing here. It would have been a little more helpful, at least for me, if I could have an option to post to both at the same time instead of having to recreate each message twice.

I think there is some potential in this area of the application in that if the developer wanted to, they could expand the features. For example, making shortcuts for posting a picture or video to Facebook, or one for creating a DM to someone on Twitter. These may not be useful for some people, but it would still be nice to at least have the option.

Variety of shortcuts that I created

A variety of shortcuts that I created

One other shortcut that is worth mentioning is the ability to launch a specific website or app. You can create bookmarks for specific websites that you visit a lot, which is a nice feature to have, but doesn’t get me too excited. What really is cool is that you can program Launch Center to actually launch specific apps on your iPhone. For example, lets say you want a shortcut for Instacast; with a few easy steps you can do this. The reason why I like this is that now, instead of crowding my first page with all the apps that I use, I can just have Launch Center on the first page and then program it so that I can just get to my most used apps there.

Creating a shortcut to launch an application

Creating a shortcut to launch an application

Lastly, there are a couple of other shortcuts that I wouldn’t use a whole lot, but definitely could come in handy. There is an option for the flashlight as well as another feature called Google My Clipboard. Basically, what it does is that a Google search is done for whatever you have previously copied on your iPhone. I am not sure if these are two that were needed in the app, but I am sure others can find these useful.

Useful or Gimmick?

To be perfectly honest, the jury is still out for me if I would actually use this full time or if it would just be an app that I try out for a bit and then trash because I wasn’t using it. I really like the idea of being able to have one central hub for all the important things that I want to do on my iPhone and Launch Center does this very well. It is clean looking, very well done and definitely has some potential. I think the biggest question will be, “Are people wanting to use something like this or are they fine with what the iPhone already has to offer?”

Overall, I have to admit, this is a neat idea and one that could very well be useful for people. For $0.99, it is worth checking out to see if it will work for you. This is one where I am interested to see if the developer has more in store for this app because I definitely think it has got some potential.


An application that lets you create shortcuts to execute certain functionalities on the iPhone