It's about time!

An Apple Passwords app is on tap.

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Back in 2001, a small software company called Karelia Software released Watson, an early pseudo web browser geared toward search.

Watson allowed you to search sites like Amazon, eBay and Epicurious from your desktop, and it supported plugins to expand its utility. This was the early days of the web, when Google wasn’t yet a giant and Yahoo was still cataloging the internet by hand.

Watson became a big hit, and in 2002, won a coveted Apple Design Award.

But later that year, Apple added very similar features to a program built into Mac OS X: Sherlock.

The Sherlock 3 update allowed Mac users to search their local files — and for information online. It instantly made Watson redundant, and a new word entered the Silicon Valley vocabulary: “sherlocked.”

Getting sherlocked refers to the unfortunate situation where Apple (or another big company, but it’s usually Apple) releases a feature or app that instantly obviates the need for a piece of third-party software.

Over the years, it’s happened many times. Occasionally, the media makes solemn lists of all the apps and companies that have been sherlocked after one of Apple’s keynotes.

Well, it sounds like it’s about to happen again Monday — this time to 1Password, LastPass, Dashlane and others.

WWDC24’s opening keynote likely will see Apple introduce its first stand-alone password manager — which will almost undoubtedly instantly sherlock any company that sells password management software.

You have to feel for these companies. Getting sherlocked can’t be fun.

But at the same time, it’s often foreseeable. People have long clamored for a stand-alone Apple Passwords app, and the company already has some functionality in place.

One of the advantages of being a small business is nimbleness. Let’s hope the makers of rival password managers saw this coming and made preparations to pivot or stay a few steps ahead of Apple.

If not, my condolences.

How do you feel about companies getting sherlocked? Take today’s poll below.

Also in today’s newsletter:

  • Monday promises to be a big day, and not just for 1Password et al. We have the latest rumors surrounding iOS 18, Apple Intelligence, and Apple’s major platforms.

  • I just bought a pair of Beats Fit Pro earbuds from our own deals site. We’re having a major sale at 45% off these highly rated earbuds. Wirecutter just named them one of the best wireless earbuds around after testing 400 pairs.

  • Talking of great deals: CdkeySales offers incredible prices on a huge range of Microsoft software. If, like me, you’re not a huge fan of Microsoft’s wares but sometimes have to use them — you might as well get the software you need cheap.

  • You probably know you can edit and unsend texts in Messages, but there’s more than meets the eye.

  • Yesterday’s poll about featuring a “Wallpaper of the day” wasn’t the feedback I was hoping for. You guys don’t seem super-keen on seeing it. But I like it, and I’m doing it anyway! 😉

— Leander Kahney, EIC.

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One more thing ...

Software is the user experience. As the iPod and iTunes prove, it has become the driving technology not just of computers but of consumer electronics.

— Steve Jobs, 2005.

Today’s poll

Is Apple evil for 'sherlocking' smaller companies?

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Results from yesterday’s poll: Are iPhone wallpapers something you'd like to see every day?

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