I'm pretty good embracing a new thing when it comes along. I downloaded LION the day it come out, which was over a month ago at this point. On that day, I immediately found MISSION CONTROL and LAUNCHPAD both uninituitve and pointless. Unhandy iCandy. And of FULL SCREEN APPS? Not necessary on an iMac anyway.
So I quickly sought out quick solutions to 'fix' these new features. Launchpad and full screen apps have the advantage that they can be simply ignored. This is a good thing. Mission Control, on the other hand, got in the way of a beloved feature for me: what was once SPACES and EXPOSE. That is, I couldn't simply ignore MC because I still needed the previous helpful features in Snow Leopard.
My solution was kind of surprising and eye-opening. It's complicated to explain but I thought I'd share. This conclusion is likely best suited for someone not using a small screened Mac. It turns out that most users (with big enough screens) don't really need Mission Control, Launchpad, Spaces, or Full Screen apps.
Let's go through that conclusion, one by one:
FULL SCREEN APPS
If you have a relatively big screen (20 iMac for instance), why do you need Safari full screen? Unless you intend to sit across the room from the computer, no reason. And there's lots of bright empty space when you do this. Do you need the Mail app full screen? If you need reading glasses, maybe, but otherwise, nope. I find it's easier just to stretch out an app pretty big and leave it at that.
Full screen apps DO offer a nice feature which is making your desktop, menubar, and dock go BYE BYE. I can see where sometimes this is a useful feature, but typically -- NOPE. Typically I want access to my dock (to switch between open apps without the added step of cancelling full screen first), and typically I want access to my menubar so that I can glance up and see what time it is or find an app menu quickly.
The only feature I find worthy of praise with full screen apps is that they hide the clutter on your desktop. But there's an app in the Mac App Store which makes your desktop icons vanish with the touch of a button (CAMOUFLAGE). I mean, what's the point of a wallpaper if you bury it with desktop clutter or eliminate it with full screen apps? If it's a busy and distracting wallpaper, umm... you picked bad wallpaper.
LAUNCH PAD offers an iOS experience inside OS X. At first I thought it was completely silly. After a month now, I kinda get why it's there. Kinda.
You see, before LP, to duplicate it's functionality, you'd have to organize folders yourself. Put folders of various apps together. Place them somewhere in the finder heirarchy. Then drag those folders into the part of the dock with the trashcan. Then you could click them open and have access to similarly themed folders of apps. The problem here, of course, is that unless you're a power user, you'll never do this.
So Apple thought, AH-HA, we'll just drag into OS X a paradigm that users already get from iOS. Clumping apps together any way you like them. The misfire, if you ask me, is not allowing users to drag the new iOS folders straight into the dock when finished. That is to say: copies of said organized folders. It's as if Apple's software people have complete contempt for the dock -- and are desperate to have users abandon it.
My problem is that I like having folders in my dock of stuff I need. It just works, as Steve says. Going to the same EXACT place every time I need anything is more intuitive and graceful than ADDING an app called Launchpad that launches you into a different finder altogether. Makes zero sense and THIS is why I say, like FULL SCREEN APPS, LP can basically be abandoned.
By the way: need proof that Apple has complete contempt for the Dock?
A month has passed since MC was introduced and SPACES was eliminated. I dare anyone to tell me why either is needed at all. Before you get iMiffed, humor me for a moment and hear me out.
The notion of SPACES was that it's a neat way to keep like minded open apps together. I totally bought into this, back in the day. So much so that I was iMiffed when it was gone in Lion. But let's look at this closer.
The REASON why we needed SPACES was that we could have WAY too many windows open at once on a Mac. Right? A big mess of windows covering each other up. Suppose you're surfing in Safari but need iTunes? But iTunes is hidden. So what did you do? You went to Spaces as step one, moused over to your iTunes space as move two, and then clicked it as move three. Seems like a great solution until the day you discover that you could simply click on iTunes in the dock as move one and arrive at iTunes. As one step. Period. Really simple, right?
Why have Spaces and apps dance around when you can just click the app you want and be done with it? That's the critical observation to make in order to follow my entire line of reasoning. Sure, it may look really cool and make Windows machines look like junk, but at the end of the day, why add two steps to something you might do 100 times a day -- switching between apps.
So why OH why did Apple add Spaces? Simple: because too many apps were visible at once in one 'desktop' window. So if you can build many new desktops, there might only be one or two in each. Great solution. Right?
Wrong, as it turns out. Because we still have the two extra steps. It's a weak solution. And it's in complete contempt of the Dock, which as it turns out, offers the strongest solution.
The strong solution would be that only one app is visible in your Mac's window at all times. Say you're in Safari. Despite having 12 other apps open, you only see Safari. Your dock tells you that you have other apps open, but nothing else sits in your window BUT the app you're using. So you want to go to iTunes? So click on it in the dock and Safari vanishes and iTunes emerges by itself. No other windows. What could be simpler? (This app is freeware known as ISOLATOR.)
If you download and try ISOLATOR, you'll say, umm, okay, but wait: sometimes I do want more than one window in view. Okay, fine, turn it off then. From the handy menu bar menu. I find that 98% of the time I need ISOLATOR on. Mileage may vary.
So let's recap. One third party software removes distracting desktop clutter, the other removes distracting app windows. Both can be toggled on and off from the menu bar. One is free, one costs $2. These two solutions remove the only real feature of FULL SCREEN APPS and make SPACES and it's newfangled cousin MISSION CONTROL pointless.
Need that last one explained? Well, what's Mission Control but a variant of spaces? To invoke MC and switch to the needed window are those same two annoying steps Spaces added into the mix. Nothing was fixed. Plus, like spaces, you must invest time and energy organizing such spaces.
Why bother? And so I ask again: can somebody who's read and tried the above carefully explain to me why Mission Control, Launchpad, and Full Screen Apps are really needed at all? (Outside of small screened Macs.) Doesn't the dock and these two sharewares together solve most problems?
Am I missing something?