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Apple tweaks Dock menus in new Snow Leopard beta

post #1 of 103
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Apple on Thursday evening delivered to developers a new build of its forthcoming Snow Leopard operating system that addresses a number of outstanding bugs but also delivers a couple of interface tweaks.

"This Snow Leopard Developer Preview Update is recommended for all users running the Snow Leopard Developer Preview Build 10A394 or later," Apple said. "This update includes general operating system fixes for stability, compatibility, and security."

The new build, labeled 10A402a, weighs in at roughly 1.3GB and was distributed via Snow Leopard's Software Update mechanism. It's the second such build to arrive in that manner in as many weeks, signaling ongoing tests to the new version of the system's automatic software updater.

In their brief experiences testing the new build, people familiar with the software claim it to be more responsive overall, as Apple focuses on optimization and stability ahead of a release planned for this fall.

Additionally, developers have noticed a couple of obvious interface tweaks, the first of which has seen the Dock's contextual pop-up menus re-skinned in a charcoal motif with white text. In previous builds, these menus were know to sport the same interface as traditional Finder contextual menus, which include black text on a platinum backdrop.

Snow Leopard's new Dock contextual menus | Source: The Quantum Byte

Apple may also be fiddling with the design of other Mac OS X interface elements, such as slide knobs, which now appear to feature a deeper, more vibrant shade of blue.



At its annual developers conference last month, Apple said it plans to release Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in September as a $29 upgrade for all owners of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
post #2 of 103
So the rumors ARE gonna be true.
post #3 of 103
I installed it last night and while system response has improved a little, still takes longer to boot than 10.5.7. You would think that a 64-bit system that focuses on tweaks wouldn't take so long to boot. Oh well, I am still overall happy with it.
post #4 of 103
I wonder if that black popup is showing a bit of what were going to get in newer builds...
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"There's no bigot like a religious bigot and there's no religion more fanatical than that espoused by Macintosh zealots." ~Martin Veitch, IT Week [31-01-2003]
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post #5 of 103
I wonder what else is going to click into place here... perhaps the much discussed iTunes style scroll bars? Nice to see steady progress. SL is no slouch as it is, so good to see further improvements reported...
post #6 of 103
You almost don't need the Finder with those new Dock menus, for browsing around at least. I suppose you still need it for file management - copying/moving etc, but then file management was always Finder's weak point.
post #7 of 103
What idiocy is this? The slider shown is the slider from the Display preference pane, which pulsates as in picture if you enable ambient light brightness detection. That's been there since Tiger.
post #8 of 103
Um, I think you have something wildly wrong:

http://www.apple.com/macosx/
"Coming September 2009 with every new Mac. Upgrade from Mac OS X Leopard for just $29"

September has been repeated over and over and over and over and over, etc. You guys for some reason think it is October. Why?

post #9 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

You almost don't need the Finder with those new Dock menus, for browsing around at least. I suppose you still need it for file management - copying/moving etc, but then file management was always Finder's weak point.

Yeah. By default, the hard disks are no longer displayed on the Desktop so it looks like they're trying to get away from the normal file management.
post #10 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

You almost don't need the Finder with those new Dock menus, for browsing around at least. I suppose you still need it for file management - copying/moving etc, but then file management was always Finder's weak point.

Agree - this is the one area I think Apple needs to look a bit closer at the Windows world - I'd like CUT as well as copy and paste, split screen (easier than two windows).
post #11 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

You almost don't need the Finder with those new Dock menus, for browsing around at least.

Interesting point.
post #12 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Agree - this is the one area I think Apple needs to look a bit closer at the Windows world - I'd like CUT as well as copy and paste, split screen (easier than two windows).

The absence of "cut" and whether it's a good thing or not has been discussed for as long as there have been Macs and the general opinion on the Mac side is that it's not needed. If there was a single, absolutely safe bet to be made regarding OS-X UI changes, it's probably that Macs will never have this feature.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #13 of 103
The Aqua interface is the only thing giving OS X wrinkles. The operating system would look a lot fresher if given the interface treatment seen in iTunes. I'm hoping that what we are now seeing with Stacks is giving us a glimpse at an Aqua-less OS X.
post #14 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by grabberslasher View Post

What idiocy is this? The slider shown is the slider from the Display preference pane, which pulsates as in picture if you enable ambient light brightness detection. That's been there since Tiger.

This. Come on AI.

It's also depressing to see people still think Apple is going to introduce a new UI suddenly with zero developer announcement, support or information within two months. (Why on earth do people still go on about "Illuminous" when the person that made it up confessed as much! And when Gruber claims the next UI revamp is called "Marble".) And something like 2+ weeks of that time would be needed for production, packaging and shipping SL out.

Even more depressing to see people clammering for iTunes style elements, when it has a terribly implemented style. OS X should go matte, but they should be the metal elements we already know and not the horribly toned iTunes ones.
post #15 of 103
That slider for adjusting icon size in the Finder - it would be cool if moving to minimum size changes to list view.

Edit: the main weakness with the Dock menus is that the Back button moves around when the window size changes. This is a pain when you are trying to go up multiple levels. Maybe if they put it bottom center.
post #16 of 103
I like the new menus--makes sense, as a match for Stacks views.

I'm happy with white menus elsewhere, though.

And I've lost hope for a new UI (for now). Not that I see the need for a new look anyway--but I WOULD like to see more consistency: iTunes scrollbars should match the rest, whichever style they choose!
post #17 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I installed it last night and while system response has improved a little, still takes longer to boot than 10.5.7. You would think that a 64-bit system that focuses on tweaks wouldn't take so long to boot. Oh well, I am still overall happy with it.

Well, isn't this likely a non-optimized, debug release?
post #18 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by esXXI View Post

This. Come on AI.

It's also depressing to see people still think Apple is going to introduce a new UI suddenly with zero developer announcement, support or information within two months. (Why on earth do people still go on about "Illuminous" when the person that made it up confessed as much! And when Gruber claims the next UI revamp is called "Marble".) And something like 2+ weeks of that time would be needed for production, packaging and shipping SL out.

Even more depressing to see people clammering for iTunes style elements, when it has a terribly implemented style. OS X should go matte, but they should be the metal elements we already know and not the horribly toned iTunes ones.

And yet, we are already seeing more and more UI changes. There's only a few more things left to change, like buttons, sliders, and scrollbars, and you've pretty much done a UI overhaul.
post #19 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by esXXI View Post

It's also depressing to see people still think Apple is going to introduce a new UI suddenly with zero developer announcement, support or information within two months. (Why on earth do people still go on about "Illuminous" when the person that made it up confessed as much! And when Gruber claims the next UI revamp is called "Marble".) And something like 2+ weeks of that time would be needed for production, packaging and shipping SL out.

Even more depressing to see people clammering for iTunes style elements, when it has a terribly implemented style. OS X should go matte, but they should be the metal elements we already know and not the horribly toned iTunes ones.

You're depressed by other people's...optimism?

Who in this thread is clamoring for an entirely new UI? I see people suggesting that this change to the Dock's contextual menus may foreshadow other tweaks coming between now and whenever Snow Leopard ships in September (I would guess late September).

Don't you think it'd look a little odd to have white-text-on-black contextual menus only in the Dock? How difficult would it be to similarly invert the color of the Menu Bar and the standard ctrl-click context menu? That would certainly go along with the Dock's white-text-on-black app icon labels introduced in Leopard, TimeMachine, iTunes 8, QuickLook, QuickTime X, etc.

Leopard's muted, unified window theme would remain intact (aside from QTX, obviously), though I don't think implementing new window controls, buttons, and using the new black glass scroll bars from Stacks or iTunes 8's matte look for scroll bars would be that hard.
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post #20 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrparet View Post

The Aqua interface is the only thing giving OS X wrinkles. The operating system would look a lot fresher if given the interface treatment seen in iTunes. I'm hoping that what we are now seeing with Stacks is giving us a glimpse at an Aqua-less OS X.

I don't think they're going for Aqua-less, it's bigger than that - they're almost going for everything in the OS being a HUD, with user applications being the only non-HUD things.
post #21 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Well, isn't this likely a non-optimized, debug release?

It's possible that it is, and that's what I was thinking. However if SL is going to be available in September (not knowing when in September of course, typical) then it would RTM probably sometime in mid-August at the latest based solely on my assumptions. I would hope that they still wouldn't have debugging turned on this late into development. Oh well, I still am happy with SL so far.
post #22 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

You're depressed by other people's...optimism?

Its easy to become depressed when peoples stupidity makes ones head hurt.

Quite honestly I don't know why people whine to the degree which they do about Mac OS X look and feel; compared to Windows it is absolute perfection.
post #23 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

You're depressed by other people's...optimism?

Don't you think it'd look a little odd to have white-text-on-black contextual menus only in the Dock? How difficult would it be to similarly invert the color of the Menu Bar and the standard ctrl-click context menu? That would certainly go along with the Dock's white-text-on-black app icon labels introduced in Leopard, TimeMachine, iTunes 8, QuickLook, QuickTime X, etc.

It isn't a contextual menu, it's the contents of a stack, and therefore it makes sense to adopt the same UI as the icon stack and differentiate itself from contextual and normal menus.
post #24 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

I installed it last night and while system response has improved a little, still takes longer to boot than 10.5.7. You would think that a 64-bit system that focuses on tweaks wouldn't take so long to boot. Oh well, I am still overall happy with it.

If that was your FIRST reboot then it makes sense, since EVERY time you do a System update, the first reboot takes a long time.

Did you try rebooting a SECOND time?
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post #25 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrparet View Post

The Aqua interface is the only thing giving OS X wrinkles. The operating system would look a lot fresher if given the interface treatment seen in iTunes. I'm hoping that what we are now seeing with Stacks is giving us a glimpse at an Aqua-less OS X.

Let's hope they don't make everything look like iTunes. I find it dull. Still, it would be better than all the BLACK UI stuff that some people seem to clamor for. White text on black. NO thanks.

I'd like to see the Finder windows' forward and back buttons get keyboard commands like Safari.

Whatever happened to Finder window Tabs? That would be nice to cut down on window clutter.

As for the Dock, I rarely use it for anything beyond opening the Trash.
How about an option to put the Trash in the Finder window Sidebar? If I had that, I could almost kill the Dock entirely.
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post #26 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCrazy View Post

It isn't a contextual menu, it's the contents of a stack, and therefore it makes sense to adopt the same UI as the icon stack and differentiate itself from contextual and normal menus.

Looks like more than just Stack menus:


http://www.macrumors.com/2009/07/10/...-enhancements/

Looks like AI also got the slider wrong. Apparently the Finder's new slider has gone from Aqua to:


http://www.macrumors.com/2009/07/10/...-enhancements/
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post #27 of 103
That is now how the world works now. It can be literally just a few weeks from having a RTM to a box in the customers hand, especially when you're talking millions in quantity. Debugging also not that hard to turn off. I take it you're not a developer so I'm wondering how you are running SL anyways?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

It's possible that it is, and that's what I was thinking. However if SL is going to be available in September (not knowing when in September of course, typical) then it would RTM probably sometime in mid-August at the latest based solely on my assumptions. I would hope that they still wouldn't have debugging turned on this late into development. Oh well, I still am happy with SL so far.
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post #28 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Looks like more than just Stack menus:


http://www.macrumors.com/2009/07/10/...-enhancements/

Looks like AI also got the slider wrong. Apparently the Finder's new slider has gone from Aqua to:


You're absolutely right, I hadn't seen the MacRumors image. This seems like more of a strange addition then. I would have thought it would make sense to only change it for stacks. Maybe Apple are going to change all the menus to match.
post #29 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple may also be fiddling with the design of other Mac OS X interface elements, such as slide knobs, which now appear to feature a deeper, more vibrant shade of blue.

Something's fishy with that slider. It looks like a cross between the aqua slider and the non-aqua one. Frankly, both look more likely than the hybrid. There's no way an apple graphic designer would make the stupid mistake of having a lighter blue circle in the center of a glass orb with no major gradients leading to it. It's just out of place.
post #30 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCrazy View Post

You're absolutely right, I hadn't seen the MacRumors image. This seems like more of a strange addition then. I would have thought it would make sense to only change it for stacks. Maybe Apple are going to change all the menus to match.

Well to be fair, I hadn't seen those MacRumors images either. I just presumed the rest of the Dock's menus would have the same black-on-white aesthetic.

And not to brag, but what feels like ions ago now, I sent a mockup to Apple through their Developer Connection (I'm not a developer by any stretch, but I submitted a Mac OS X widget, which gave me partial access) around the time Leopard's new UI was initially unveiled (before getting delayed past its original Spring release to the Fall) in which I suggested...well:
http://s59.photobucket.com/albums/g3...ardMenuBar.png

I certainly am not taking credit for inspiring them, but the resemblance is uncanny. Obviously, my thoughts have changed on the matter (I want the entire Menu Bar to go white-text-on-black), but still.
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post #31 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

If that was your FIRST reboot then it makes sense, since EVERY time you do a System update, the first reboot takes a long time.

Did you try rebooting a SECOND time?

I use this as my production machine, so yes I have power cycled a few times. No worries though, it works very well for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O4BlackWRX View Post

I take it you're not a developer so I'm wondering how you are running SL anyways?

Same way any other person who wanted access to it who wasn't a developer....
post #32 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple may also be fiddling with the design of other Mac OS X interface elements, such as slide knobs, which now appear to feature a deeper, more vibrant shade of blue.

Ah, so that's why Eric is on Apple's Board. So he can have Marissa help Apple pick the proper shade of blue.
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post #33 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCrazy View Post

It isn't a contextual menu, it's the contents of a stack, and therefore it makes sense to adopt the same UI as the icon stack and differentiate itself from contextual and normal menus.

Perhaps it would, if white text on a dark transparent background was a good idea. It isn't. (Jump Menus are more similar in behaviour, and are platinum/black)

They tried overly translucent menus in 10.5.0, it didn't work. Why do they believe it would work better now?

It would be very nice if Apple stopped making these arbitrary changes adding more flash and removing bang.
post #34 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

(Jump Menus are more similar in behaviour, and are platinum/black)

Windows 7's jump lists are black text on white, not platinum text on black:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/w...res/jump-lists

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

Perhaps it would, if white text on a dark transparent background was a good idea. It isn't.

They tried overly translucent menus in 10.5.0, it didn't work. Why do they believe it would work better now?

What about the new contextual menus is 'overly translucent'? They don't appear any more or less translucent than Leopard's current menus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zandros View Post

It would be very nice if Apple stopped making these arbitrary changes adding more flash and removing bang.

What makes white text on black any more arbitrary than black text on white?
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post #35 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

What makes white text on black any more arbitrary than black text on white?

Black text on white ever since Mac System 1.

Like ink on paper, unlike green text on black screens everywhere else in the computing universe of the time. Unless you got one of those SLICK amber displays, of course.

The white on black business reminds me of all those nasty kaleidoscope themes that were trying to look oh-so-high-tech. UGH. Keep it.
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post #36 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Windows 7's jump lists are black text on white, not platinum text on black:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/w...res/jump-lists


What about the new contextual menus is 'overly translucent'? They don't appear any more or less translucent than Leopard's current menus.


What makes white text on black any more arbitrary than black text on white?

Actually, black on white is more legible and less strain on the eyes for reading lots of text (like a book or an article); white on black is less of a strain on the eyes in low light conditions. For menus where there isn't much text at a time to read, it's really kind of a subjective preference, neither is too much worse or better. Personally, IF the dark menus are done well, I would prefer them to the white. Sexy.
post #37 of 103
System Preferences can be accessed without launching the app!

post #38 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post

Black text on white ever since Mac System 1.

Like ink on paper, unlike green text on black screens everywhere else in the computing universe of the time. Unless you got one of those SLICK amber displays, of course.

The white on black business reminds me of all those nasty kaleidoscope themes that were trying to look oh-so-high-tech. UGH. Keep it.

But this is just contextual menus, not the entire system. I don't see them swapping out Leopard's unified, subdued UI in favor of white text on black glass (aside from QTX, which is a special case), that would be very Vista/Windows Media Player 11ish. Yuck.

I could see them potentially darkening the grey window title bars enough that white text could be used there as well, but that's about it (again, aside from the contextual menus, which may include the mother of all contextual menus: the Menu Bar).

This goes right in line with the iPhone: white text on black 'Menu Bar' (if we can call the bar along the top such a name), grey bordered apps (though there are more variants in window boarders than Leopard, obviously).
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post #39 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

It's possible that it is, and that's what I was thinking. However if SL is going to be available in September (not knowing when in September of course, typical) then it would RTM probably sometime in mid-August at the latest based solely on my assumptions. I would hope that they still wouldn't have debugging turned on this late into development. Oh well, I still am happy with SL so far.

A fellow professor asked me to set up (by phone) a configured purchase of a Mini. She wanted to buy it just before September 8, so she could get a free iPod Touch. No joy. The Mini doesn't qualify even configured at a higher price than the white laptop which does qualify for the free Touch. The rep said it wouldn't have SL installed either. However, the Apple rep told me that if my friend waited until after September 8, SL WOULD be installed, but not not necessarily on September 9. The rep said that Apple would START installing SL on Macs on 9/9/09, but then only as quantities permitted. She wouldn't (OR couldn't) say when ALL Macs would have SL installed.

I didn't think that made sense. OS's aren't like hardware that has to be stockpiled. It seems to me that they would have the SL OS or they wouldn't. I tried to pin her down as to what that meant. No luck.
Can anyone explain why Apple wouldn't install the OS on all Macs at the same time.
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post #40 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrparet View Post

The Aqua interface is the only thing giving OS X wrinkles. The operating system would look a lot fresher if given the interface treatment seen in iTunes. I'm hoping that what we are now seeing with Stacks is giving us a glimpse at an Aqua-less OS X.

And iTunes looks so much like Solaris did 10 years ago.

IF anything I hate that new slider ball. It's much uglier than the old one.

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