How Apple Sherlocked Third-Party Apps with Its Latest System Updates: A Look at the Features and the Apps They Inspired

Apple’s “Sherlocked” Features: A Look at the History and Latest Examples

Apple’s latest releases of iOS, macOS, watchOS and iPadOS have incorporated functionalities that were once only available through third-party apps, leading to the term “Sherlocking.” Let’s take a look at the history behind this term and some of the latest examples.

The history behind “Sherlocked”

“Sherlocked” was coined after Apple released a search app named Sherlock for macOS 8. A company called Karelia Software had a search app named Watson, with better features than Sherlock. Apple eventually released Sherlock 3 with similar features, rendering Watson redundant and forcing the company to close down.

Latest Examples of “Sherlocked” Features

Feature: Journaling app

Sherlocked app: Day One, Obsidian

Apple introduced a new journaling app at the WWDC, with features like personalized suggestions based on your location, activities, and more. The company’s Journal app will also let users lock their journals to keep them private.

Feature: Namedrop

Sherlocked app: Bump

Apple released a feature called Namedrop, which enables two iPhone users to exchange information through Airdrop with ease and without extra steps.

Feature: Presenter overlay

Sherlocked apps: mmhmm, Loom

Apple’s presenter overlay feature offers attendees a cutout or bubble instead of looking at two tiles. Although apps like mmhmm and Loom offer async video, Apple’s new features such as per-app screen sharing and reactions might overshadow them.

Feature: Stickers

Sherlocked apps: Sticker Drop, Sticker.ly

Apple introduced a feature to lift a subject out of a picture or a video last year. The updated functionality introduced with iOS 17 will make it easier to find stickers through the keyboard. The operating system update will also enable users to add live effects to these stickers.

Feature: Mood logging

Sherlocked apps: Daylio, Moodnote

Apple introduced mood logging with iOS 17, allowing users to pinpoint emotions and factors affecting their mood. Other mood loggers have additional features like journaling, but then Apple is introducing its own Journal app as well.

Feature: Web app

Sherlocked app: Unite

Apple’s new feature for macOS Sonoma will let users dock websites as web apps. These apps will open in a different and minimal interface, taking up less memory than Electron apps.

Feature: Widgets on Mac/Interactive Widgets

Sherlocked apps: Wdgts 2, Widgetwall, Widgetsmith

Apple now allows users to cover their Mac desktops with widgets, which was only possible through apps like Widgetwall. The introduction of interactive widgets in iOS 17 might lead to fewer custom widgets with apps like Widgetsmith.

Feature: Hiking tracking

Sherlocked apps: Topo

WatchOS 10 now offers topographical maps, a new view in The Compass app, and waypoint tracking. A popular hiking app Topo offers some of these features as core functionality for the app.

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