Siri Shortcuts on the Mac could be Apple’s replacement strategy for Automator (and AppleScript?)

9to5Mac reports that Apple is working on bringing the Mac and iOS closer together with the introduction of macOS 10.15 and iOS 13. Siri Shortcuts, Screen Time, and more are expected to be unveiled for Mac during its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the article adds, which would be good news for, among others, those interested in scripting on macOS.

Apple has apparently lost interest in its AppleScript and Automator scripting solutions. In November 2016 it was reported that Sal Soghoian’s position as product manager of Automation Technologies at Apple had been terminated after nearly 20 years at the company.

AppleScript is a scripting language created by Apple and built into the Classic Mac OS since System 7 and into all versions of macOS. Automator is an application developed by Apple for macOS that implements point-and-click (or drag and drop) creation of workflows for automating repetitive tasks into batches for quicker alteration.

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Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, said in March 2017 that “we have every intent to continue our support for great automation technologies in macOS.” However, “continue to support” isn’t the same thing as “continuing to develop.”

Falling into the “continuing to develop” category is likely Siri Shortcuts, which were originally designed to deliver a new, faster way to get things done with the ability for any app to work with Siri on the iPhone and iPad. According to Apple, the personal digital assistant’s intelligence can suggest an action at just the right time. 

Users can customize Shortcuts by creating a simple voice command to kick off the task or download the new Shortcuts app to create a series of actions from different apps that can be carried out with a simple tap or customized voice command. If 9to5Mac is correct (and I’d bet it is), that capability will be coming to the Mac soon.

The article adds that another major feature from iOS 12 that’s coming to the Mac with macOS 10.15 is Screen Time. The feature allows users to see how much time they’re spending in apps and to limit the amount of time that can be spent in a specific app or category of apps, such as social media. 9to5Mac has also reported that Apple Watch authentication will expand beyond the ability unlock your Mac with macOS 10.15.