Apple could offer its own journaling app with the next update to iOS, according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal. The software, codenamed “Jurassic,” will attempt to tap into the apparent mental and physical benefits of logging your thoughts and activities on a regular basis. The WSJ reports that the app could be announced as early as Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June as a feature for iOS 17, the iPhone software update expected to be released this autumn.
According to the WSJ, Apple’s ideas for the app include having it pull usage data from the user’s iPhone to make suggestions about what they might like to journal about. It might spot when someone’s daily activity has changed and suggest writing about specific events like a workout. There’s even mention of an “All Day People Discovery” feature that could recognize friends and colleagues that users regularly spend time with.
The processing for this data will occur on-device, according to documents viewed by the WSJ, with journaling suggestions kept for four weeks before being deleted.
“It’s always the worst thing to have to hear that you’re about to be sherlocked”
The app could bring Apple into direct competition with third-party journaling apps like Day One, leading to familiar accusations that the iPhone maker is “Sherlocking” developers. The term dates back to an old macOS search tool called Sherlock, which many thought copied features from a third-party tool called Watson. Since then, the term Sherlocking has been used to refer to times when Apple (or other major platform operators) develop a native feature that replaces functionality offered by third-party apps or services.
“It’s always the worst thing to have to hear that you’re about to be sherlocked,” Day One founder Paul Mayne told the WSJ after hearing apple Apple’s plans for Jurassic. “It will definitely give us some competition.”
Mayne says that the Day One app previously won plaudits from Apple, including a 2014 design award. But in the past three years, he claims Day One hasn’t been featured as prominently in the App Store, and suspects it’s because Apple plans to launch a competitor.
If the company does decide to launch its journaling app, it will have several advantages over third-party developers like Automattic, the current owner of Day One. Most notably, Apple will face less pressure to monetize its app directly, because it primarily makes money from selling hardware, and uses its software to attract users. Day One, meanwhile, is offered on a freemium basis with the option to pay for features like multi-device support. Apple could also preload its software onto its devices, and the WSJ notes that the company could benefit from broader access to user data like text messages and phone calls.
Apple did not immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment, and declined to comment to The Wall Street Journal on its report. Although the WSJ mentions a potential announcement at WWDC in June, it notes that Jurassic might also be revealed later.