In the midst of the press storm around the passing of Steve Jobs, I received my brand new Mac Book Pro. Let me start out by saying what I love about my new machine, and Macs in general. First, I do a lot of video editing - in my work life and personal life - and NOTHING beats a Mac for video work. I have never found a Windows Firewire driver that does not give me a Blue Screen of Death. Also, no one can deny the hardware is just beautiful and wonderfully engineered. Nothing else in the market comes even close - but of course you pay for it. I also really love the smooth and intuitive gestures on the track pad. As beautiful as this aluminum monolith is, lets start our critique with hardware. The first thing I noticed as I laid my hands on my new Mac Book is, the beautiful hard edge of aluminum cuts into my wrists! After just a few minutes of work I had a line across my wrists. I am actually quite worried that this is going to be a major ergonomic issue long term. This could have been solved with just a slight, elegant bevel. Or, one can create their own bevel.
I should also say that I am an equal-opportunity computer user. I have multiple Windows PCs and multiple Macs at both home and work. I even have a Linux server in my garage (I know, Nerd Alert!) Nothing irks me more than Apple fan-boys that gush at everything Apple produces and fail to see the warts that are staring them in the face. Most of my issues lie with the operating system itself. And to be fair, I have begun to notice that Apple is addressing some of the items on my long-running gripe list. So let us take a look at the list (It's nice to be on the sending end of a "wish list" for once!)
For some inexplicable reason, while tabbing between controls in a form in Safari, drop down lists and buttons, check boxes and radio buttons are all skipped. When I am filling out my address on-line for the 1 millionth time, I always press the tab key to quickly move through the form. In Safari, when I get to the ubiquitous "State" drop-down, the tab key skips right over it! BTW, this works well in Chrome - not sure about Firefox. Even worse than Safari, you cannot tab through controls in most OS X dialogs. This is really basic UI 101.
Alt - Tab does not show individual documents
This one is probably because I have been a Windows user most of my life. But the Alt-Tab interaction is really weak in OS X. If I have a bunch of images open in Photoshop, it sort of picks the last one when I Alt-tab to it. The dock provides a list of multiple open documents, I don't see why Alt-Tab does not.
Menu bar only across the top
I find myself going back and forth on this one. On one hand, having the menu bar across the top provides some level of placement consistency. It also makes individual windows a bit cleaner and shorter. However, it violates Fitts law which "predicts that the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the distance to the target and the size of the target." In other words, the File menu, while always being in the same spot, is almost always farther away than if it was docked on the top of the active window.
Pressing the Plus sign does not really expand the entire window. This one always perplexes me. Probably because of my heavy Windows use, but I always expect the green plus sign to go full screen. Also, I think Microsoft really outpaced Apple in Windows 7 when they greatly improved their window manager with the side-by-side docking, drag to top to maximize and 'shake' to isolate. That said, I really like Expose, especially some of the subtle improvements in Lion.
The Dock is OK. But again, I think Windows is superior here. When you minimize a document in Windows it minimizes to it's parent icon on the dock. In OS X, it minimizes to this ghetto off to the right by the smelly trash can. I find that I do not minimize windows in OS X because I inevitably forget where they went. I know you can hold down the Dock icon to see the list, but I think this minimize behavior creates an unnecessary cognitive disconnect between the document and it's parent application.
When I type a term into a Finder window it defaults to "My Mac" finding all files that match that word. This is fine behavior for the Spotlight seach in the menu bar, but when I am in a folder, I am usually searching for a file in that folder. Speaking of Spotlight, when I search for files across my entire Mac, it would be really nice if I could right click and go to the folder where that file lives. This is available in Finder searches, but inexplicably missing from the Spotlight search results. Sometimes I think that right-click behavior is the red-headed step child of OS X. Something they had to begrudingly adopt, but hidden behind a sleek one button door with no affordance of it's right-clickiness.
Copy/Paste does not work on files. Argh.
Delete key does not delete files. Double Argh!
Ok, for this one I should just accept that I am not the target user for this suite and leave it at that and be happy with the fact that Picasa works on the Mac.
Hey look, I know I am coming across as grumpy...and trust me, I am not sending this thing back! But as with all of you Reviteers out there, it's all out of love of the product (right?) And of course, there is always Bootcamp and Parallels!