If you've ever wanted to automate actions on your iPhone, like opening up apps, making calls, and sending Tweets, the latest update to App Cubby's Launch Center will get you pretty close. Upon opening this 99-cent app, you're presented with a customizable shortcut list — you could simply use it as a way to launch your favorite apps, but you can also use it to calls, text, or email specific people in your address book, directly access certain settings, or Tweet directly though iOS 5's built in Twitter service. Yesterday's update expands this functionality beyond a simple shortcut list and now allows users to schedule actions and have them show up in Notification Center; scheduled events can appear as lock screen alerts, notification badgets or banners, and in the Notification Center pulldown itself.
In practice, this feels like a great extension to the lightweight iOS Reminders app. Let's say you want the Reeder app to open every morning at 8AM so you can catch up on news — just add "launch Reeder" to your event list, schedule a time, and every day you'll get a notification. When you select that notification, it opens the app right up. If you need to remember to call your mom every week, just select the contact and a time and you'll be reminded with one-tap dialing. Unfortunately, adding access to apps and settings isn't as simple as scrolling through a list, but App Cubby provides a helpful link with the code necessary to launch many apps (and there's more lists out there with additional custom shortcut information). Typically you'll just need to type "appname://" into the field, but that isn't a fullproof solution, and would be much more elegant with a graphical solution.
You can't actually have actions run without your consent, so you're unable to automatically have Wi-Fi turned off every night without your input, but aside from that shortcoming this feels like a quite useful app. If App Cubby can find a way to make app launching a little more user-friendly, this app could appeal to a wide user base, but even now it helps break up the feeling that iOS apps are isolated sandboxes — now you can have one place for all your most commonly used actions. Unfortunately, Apple has already pulled apps from its store that use notification center in unorthodox ways, so you shouldn't hesitate in grabbing this if it sounds useful.