Is the Mac getting overly complicated?

by Volker Weber


With each OS X release Apple tries something new. The dock and the desktop have been there all the time. But they added (and now removed) Front Row. They added the Dashboard. Spaces, Expose, now Mission Control. And finally the iOS launcher, Launchpad. Throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks does not sound like a good master plan.


I like the result though.

Markus Dierker, 2011-07-27

I couldn't agree more.

And there also seems to be a lack of GUI QA/testing by real-life users. Having to find out online that you need to change preferences or use command-line plist defaults to fix things that shouldn't be broken in the first place is certainly not the way to go (ie.: putting Dashboard in a space that hides the background apps/desktop).

Apple doesn't seem to be paying enough attention to making the OS and bundle apps consistent either. For example, there are 4 places where you can change a password. 2 of them are ok, the other 2 lack the indicator to use a strong password. Guess where they forgot to include it? In the most important places of all : in System Preferences to set your account password and in the FileVault Master password setup in Accounts.

Another example is when you command-click on an app in the Dock. The expected result on anything else than LaunchPad and MissionControl is a reveal in the Finder. But doing this on these two, launches them.

Every item in the Go menu has a shortcut that uses Command-Shift. Every one except Dowloads, that uses Command-option. That combination is reserved for Search with Google (and this option hasn't been localized properly in the French language in the Keyboard shortcuts preferences).

There are other instances where you ask yourself why didn't they plan on integrating stuff more. Why is there still a FaceTime app and iChat? Maybe they'll do this next with a Mac OS X version of iMessage?

And how about creating an app that combines Mail, AddressBook, iCal and iChat/iMessage? That would give me one less reason to run Office with Outlook. Ship it with iWork. I'd buy it.

(FrontRow was probably scrapped in favor of promoting AirPlay. And Apple doesn't even ship a free remote anymore.)

Eric Garneau, 2011-07-27

What is "complicated" in Mission control? It is easy to understand and to use and combines formerly separates concepts into a single new one.

Who needs front row?

No. Lion is a great improvement to a very good os. I do not love everything but overall I love it.

Wolfgang schmidetzki, 2011-07-28

I never liked FrontRow or Expose. Mission control, though, I like very much.

Eric Hancock, 2011-07-28

You don't need to adopt everything they give you. The mother is big into smart folders (never uses normal folders).

I used to use spotlight to launch programs not on my launch bar. Now I have it like the following.

desktop picture

I haven't used spotlight since upgrading.

Simon O'Doherty, 2011-07-28

It is possible to reinstall Front Row. I used it a lot because Plex doesn't play nice with the speakers I have.

Simon O'Doherty, 2011-07-28

I like the new features as well and I have to disagree with you, Volker, in terms of "throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks": the Apple hardware and software is following the extended possibilities of TouchPad and gestures. Mission Control is a big step forward for me as I never got used to the various Mac keyboard shortcuts.

FrontRow is a different story, useless for me from day one as I own a Dreambox and a Sonos system ...

Axel Koerv, 2011-07-28

Harsh statement, it seems you really liked front row. I found Lion polished with many small features, some big changes too. Give it a month.

Tip: when you scroll, look at the page, not at the scrollbar elevator

Oliver Schulze, 2011-07-28

Als nächstes werden wir uns vom Finder verabschieden müssen.
Vom gewohnten DVD / CD Laufwerk haben wir uns schon verabschieden müssen.

Fragt sich nur, ob der mobile Ansatz - eine 1:1 iPad Kopie - auf Arbeitscomputern wirklich Sinn macht.

Ich trenne mich gerne vom klassischen Desktop und würde mich über eine Oberfläche freuen, die mir nur das anzeigt, was ich gerade brauch - plain & simple.

Alexander Puell, 2011-07-30

Had it on a new 13" Macbook Air for a week know and I like the new way of navigating. I'll probably miss Frontrow one day but, as I have not used it in a while on the old machine, maybe not.
Let's wait and see what the next iTunes will look like.

Sascha Mohr, 2011-08-01

My advice to those of you who think Apple/Mac getting overly complicated, then switch back to windows, and stop the whining. It is as simple as that.

Joe Djamasi, 2011-08-16

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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