This Apple Clips feature needs to be a staple of iOS 11

Apple's playful video editing app makes it easy to put together a montage quickly. However, there's another feature that's piqued my interest.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

Apple on Thursday released Clips, a video editing app that's a mix between iMovie, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Clips makes it relatively easy to capture, import, and edit video or photos and add special effects such as stickers or filters. The highlight feature is the app's ability to transcribe your voice, placing text on top of the video without you typing a word.

However, after messing with the app and writing a guide for our sister website CNET, it's the share sheet Apple uses in Clips that has me most excited.

The iOS share sheet is the card that pops up from the bottom of the screen when you tap on a share button. It typically contains app icons and shortcuts for specific functions within apps, such as "Save to Dropbox."

The share sheet in its current form is clunky and requires a lot of interaction on the users part to accomplish something as simple as sending a photo in the Messages app.

That example requires multiple steps: Open the share sheet, tap on the Messages icon, begin typing in the contact's name, select it from a contact list, and, finally, tap send.


Left: Share sheet in Apple Clips app. Right: Current share sheet found throughout iOS.

(Screenshots: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

With Clips, Apple has streamlined that process by adding a row of contact shortcuts to the top of the share sheet. The suggestions come from who you frequently message, or those who Apple identifies in the video (relying on the People feature in the Photos app).

In other words, you can tap on the contact and then Messages will open with the contact field already populated, ready for you to add text or press send.

At first glance, it seems like a small feature not worthy of pointing out. But with Apple's developer conference, where the company typically announces the next version of iOS and macOS, just a couple of months away, it's hard not to read into this new approach to the share sheet.

Android has offered suggestions such as this for the past few versions, if not longer. Only instead of limiting the ideas just to the default text messaging app, any messaging app is included.

For instance, when I tap on the share button in Chrome, a grid of apps is populated, with a series of conversation shortcuts based on who I was recently talking to and in which app. So, if I was talking to my wife in WhatsApp, and a coworker in Slack, a shortcut to each person for that particular app is available.

It appears Apple is taking the same approach, only right now it's limited to the Clips app and Messages. Hopefully, we will see Apple expand the new share sheet across iOS, and more importantly, give developers a method to integrate their apps.

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