OS X Mountain Lion’s Missing Features; Passé Or Out Of Time?

TUAW’s Erica Sadun notes that one of Mountain Lion’s characteristics is the disappearance of features from previous OS X features that users know and love. she suspects that some just weren’t finished in time, but that the the demise of others seems to be in aid of Apple’s evident push to simplify (ie: iOSsify”) user interfaces at the cost of user frustration.

Ms. Sadun muses that operating systems are supposed to keep improving with more and better features, but with Apple in recent times, OS X upgrades often leave users wondering where their favorite tools have gone and why tasks and shortcuts that used to be easily executed are no longer possible.

She cites TUAW Editor Mike Rose’s observation that Apple understands that 80 percent of user interactivity applies to just 20 percent of OS features, which emboldens Apple to pare down feature sets for better maintainability, but that applying the 80/20 rule is a limited resource that can only be applied so many times, “Before you’re left with an on-off switch and a picture of an Apple.”

I’m no fan of Apple’s recent OS X interface changes. I appreciate Mountain Lion’s qualities of running both faster and significantly cooler than OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard on my old Core 2 Duo MacBook, neither of which I had expected. However, there is not one feature difference (or disappearance) from Snow Leopard that I like better, for example the erstwhile Spaces, which I loved, has been largely ruined by combining it in a clumsy mashup with the former Exposé feature as what is now called Mission Control. Access to the Library now requires extra steps and keystrokes. My Apple USB modem is no longer supported. I don’t like “natural scrolling,” find the Launcher irrellevant and annoying, wish they had just left the “Save As” command alone, and so on and so forth.

My apprehension is that with increased convergence, and eventual merger of OS X with the iOS now seeming almost inevitable (especially if Apple, as is rumored, eventually switches MacBook hardware to ARM-based processors), what we will likely be left with will more closely resemble the lame and restrictive iOS than the OS X we knew, loved, and depended on to get our work done.

You can read Erica Sadun’s commentary here:

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