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Summary:

So the argument goes that we saw a lot of eye candy from the Keynote yesterday, but there was a lack of useful features – of substance. In order from disagreement with this position, to moderate agreement, I present you the list of features. First off, […]

So the argument goes that we saw a lot of eye candy from the Keynote yesterday, but there was a lack of useful features – of substance. In order from disagreement with this position, to moderate agreement, I present you the list of features.

First off, Stacks. We’ve been hearing about patents along these lines for maybe a couple of years now. It’s nice to see that come to fruition. And I see a lot of potential in this new feature, for helping to keep my Desktop clean. I like it spotless as much as possible… So having Stacks at the ready is an interesting new feature I’m excited to play with, and expect will enhance my workflow. Will it knock Quicksilver off the top spot for accessing files quickly??? We’ll see.

Icon Previews will be huge for me. I love that I’ll be able to see the document in icon form as a super quick preview – quicker even than Quick Look, which looks decent in and of itself. This new feature seems like a no-brainer, but I’m sure will enhance many a user’s experience while looking through their documents. Spring cleaning anyone? The prospect of switching my icons from their current extreme (small, small, small) to the other end of things (big, big, big) suddenly seems like a good idea. (mental note, get larger LCD…)

Quick Look is a nice idea in practice, but I wonder how useful it’ll actually be to me, if only for the above mentioned reason. Couple the preview icons with the new CoverFlow capability and I doubt I’ll get much use from Quick Look.

Transparent Menu Bar. Um, short of [maybe] looking neat, why? Either hide the whole darn thing, or leave it be is my stance. I don’t see the use in the partially visible Menu Bar. Sorry Steve.

So I think the All Show and No Go argument is a bit harsh. There’s definitely some usability in the features we saw demonstrated. Don’t forget this is Apple, who’s design-centric strategies are partially to thank for where they are today. Just because Windows Vista tries to copy the eye candy and lacks in the functional area, doesn’t mean Apple’s following Redmond now.

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  1. All the new features unveiled yesterday may be cosmetic, but they do lend themselves to a better touch screen experience. Anyone agree? Maybe this is a transition.

  2. The technology behind quicklook is interesting. If there’s a quicklook-plugin for a particular filetype you can use that preview in many ways, like cover flow, itunes and surely tons of other programs that will use this programming interface.

    Also core animation which the stacks and shiny dock are built upon is a strong technology that will help create advanced user interfaces.

    Seems like you didn’t get that the technologies to build all this fancy standard user interface will be in the hands of creative 3rd party developers (or actually are for the beta subscribers).

  3. I meant iChat and not iTunes.

  4. Richard Hather Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    I was more impressed with the demo with Core Animations and the live video and searching. THAT is what I can see as a future desktop environment for Apple.

  5. Just think of quicklook plugins for Textile, Markdown, HTML Pages, Image Previews with EXIF Data and Code Preview… There is so much more..

  6. Love the addition of Cover Flow. It may seem like just gloss, but in reality it’s a step in that company-wide effort to establish new “front ends” for viewing our content. Front Row and Apple TV, and now the iPhone, then Cover Flow. Very consistent way of browsing our “stuff” visually.

    It may get to a point when finding our files through the Finder is the “back door” approach — when we really need to mess with stuff under the hood so speak.

    So in a way, I see adding Cover Flow as a more significant part of a larger trend in usability for OSX, then merely gloss.

  7. I see the coverflow/quickview as a great solution to the problem I face way too often. Say I do a research through literature and download tens of .pdfs. They usually end-up in a directory with automatically assigned meaningless names. When I want to look at a particular document later on, search terms usually pop quite a few matching results, so I either have to check the “info” for each, hoping that files have explicit metadata (which is usually NOT the case) or, guess what, open each file one by one until I get what I need. Painful.

    Having the possibility to see documents in a format large enough so I can read their title and recognize quickly their content (quicklook) in a fluid manner (coverflow) as if I was quickly looking covers of documents in a pile of hardcopies seems just natural and efficient to me.

    To me, this is much easier than
    1- renaming/metadata-filing every file myself upfront, and/or
    2- icon previews, where all publications of a certain journal, for instance, will look just the same.

  8. Stacks are just the beginning. Quite a few years ago, Apple patented a series of new GUI paradigms called “Piles.” This is the first implementation of it. It is so radical that it will take a while to roll it out in stages, so people can get used to it. I think you’ll see even more Piles implemented in the Finder, I suspect we’ll see a few more secret features when the final Leopard version ships.

  9. I second you on the menubar.

  10. Menubar is lame.
    Coverflow – coverflow is going to change my world.
    -Raven

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