Apple's Sal Soghoian announces 'Masters of Automation' event

Enterprise users will learn how to unleash the power of Apple's platforms

Apple, Automator, Workflow, AppleScript, Mac, iPhone, iOS, automation
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There was shock across the Apple community when Sal Soghoian’s position as Product Manager of Automation Technologies at Apple was terminated, but the automation on Apple guru is back this August with the first ever CMD-D conference.

Take control

Macs, iPhones and iPads are powerful, but you can achieve even more with them if you master their built-in automation tools, using Apple Script, Automator and (coming soon) Workflow.

Learning more about how to use these technologies will be the focus of the new CMD-D: Masters of Automation Conference on August 9.

"I'm really excited about CMD-D," said Soghoian, conference co-founder and user-automation expert. "For the past twenty years, I've met and taught great people, doing amazing things with Apple's automation technologies.”

The ticketed event takes place at the Santa Clara Convention Center, where attendees will learn how to get more out of automation on Apple’s platforms. The main event will be preceded on August 8 by a Scripting Boot Camp, where new users can learn how to use Apple’s built-in automation technologies.

What to expect

The organizers promise a range of events, including an in-depth presentation from John Pugh, who helped develop AppleScript, and appearances by experts from across the Apple community.

Enterprise users will want to attend the Managing iOS Devices track, where they will learn how Fortune 100 firms, schools and government agencies use Automator and Apple Configurator to manage huge iOS deployments.

Attendees will learn how to use the powerful automation capabilities that are already inside Macs. They will also learn a range of Automator power-tricks and dual-platform automation for macOS and iOS tips.

Soghoian’s working with some other big names from Apple’s history on the show, including Paul Kent, conference co-founder and long-time general manager of Macworld Expo. That Macworld connection runs deep: Former Mac Publishing editorial director, Jason Snell will host a discussion on automation and its future as part of a podcast.

Does it matter?

There was lots of concern when we learned Apple had terminated Soghoian’s position. One of the primary worries was that in doing so the company appeared to be sending yet another signal that it is not focused on its pro markets -- though this was before Apple’s big Mac Pro mea culpa moment.

Subsequent moves to acquire the popular Workflow app and to continue investment in AI technologies and more suggest these concerns may have been a little misplaced.

I think these moves suggest Apple seeks to create an automation framework that works across all its platforms, and (potentially) can be harnessed in an almost device agonistic way.

I can imagine being able to use Siri and my AirPods to send complex workflow instructions to my Mac at home, for example. In other words, Apple’s future will in part be built on increasing the automation and contextual intelligence made available within its products.

Workflow for the rest of us

Apple’s investment in Workflow sent a clear signal that the company will continue to invest in automation technologies for its platforms. That seems to be borne out by the inclusion of a Workflow track at the new event. If and when Apple does build out automation across its platforms it will also be good to know Soghoian will be looking closely at what is products, while also fostering a strong community around these technologies.

It is also worth noting that with Apple’s enterprise deployments now increasing exponentially, this new event seems likely to become a ‘go-to’ conference for teams looking for ways to automate their newly-acquired kit in order to unleash even more productivity gains, such as how to use hard-to-find power features inside AppleScript and JavaScript for Automation (JXA).

This will also be an excellent event at which to learn more about any automation-focused announcements Apple may make at its WWDC 2017 conference.

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