Let’s imagine that Apple decided to combine their engineering resources to form app teams that delivered both iOS and macOS versions of applications.
In such a scenario it may seem logical to retain application features common to both platforms and to remove those that were perceived to require extra resources. Certainly Automation would be something examined in that regard, and the idea might be posited that: “App Extensions are equivalent to, or could be a replacement for, User Automation in macOS.” And by User Automation, I’m referring to Apple Event scripting, Automator, Services, the UNIX command line utilities, etc.
This is pretty much what I feared was Apple’s thinking.
Based upon the information presented in this overview, it is clear that App Extensions do not provide the same abilities and functionality as the User Automation technologies of macOS, and objectively should not be considered a comparable replacement for them.
Update (2017-01-12): John Gruber:
I’d prefer to see iOS gain serious automation capabilities — even if it’s an altogether new technology. But I’m dreadfully afraid of a future where MacOS is devolved to iOS’s state, with no supported automation technologies.
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