Mac OS X 10.7 Lion: new multitouch gestures, Dock integration for Exposé, Launchpad, Mission Control

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Apple has already demonstrated a variety of changes on the way for Mac OS X Lion's Dock, Dashboard, Exposé, and Spaces, but there are a variety of interesting details about how these components will work together, and how new multitouch gestures will make them effortlessly available.



One of the biggest new features of Mac OS X Lion is the rethinking of how Dashboard, Exposé and Spaces work. These features, originally added to Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard, respectively, are now being freshly presented in Lion with a direct influence from iOS.



A previous report on the new Dock, Finder and Desktop outlined some of the iOS-influenced changes Apple will be making in Lion, which mirror the upward borrowing of features that has occurred between iPhoto and Aperture, as well as iMovie 6 and the new Final Cut Pro X.



The iOS redesign of Mac OS X



In particular, Dashboard is being transformed from a nebulous widget layer that appears above the Mac desktop into a utility area that slides in from the left of the desktop, much like the iOS controls that slide in from the left of the multitasking bar to present volume, brightness, audio playback controls, and a screen orientation lock.



Secondly, Exposé is being made more accessible. Rather than having four Exposé modes (tile all windows, tile windows of one app, hide all windows to show desktop, and show Dashboard) invoked by key commands or mouse buttons, Lion improves upon Snow Leopard's multitouch gestures to make tapping into Exposé even easier.



In Snow Leopard, Apple made Exposé's F9 "all windows" mode accessible with a 'four fingers down' trackpad gesture, and the F11 "hide all windows, show desktop" mode available with 'four fingers up.' The same gesture when made right or left invokes the App Switcher. The company is experimenting with similar gestures for iOS.



Lion takes this a step further by renaming and enhancing Expose's F9 "all windows" mode under the new moniker Mission Control, which further integrates Spaces and Dashboard, showing both all open windows and all alternative desktops (including Dashboard) within any parallel Spaces being used.







Changes in Lion System Preferences



As part of a trend that appears to feature multitouch gestures over mouse button clicks, the Exposé panel of System Preferences now presents a single hot key menu for each function (set by default to F9, F10, F11 and F12), with a list of options that no longer include invoking the various Exposé modes with the secondary or middle mouse button. Gestures for invoking Exposé features can be configured from the Trackpad pane.







An additional option has been added to the Active Screen Corner menus which now lets users invoke Launchpad from one of the corner hotspots.







Additionally, Spaces is no longer an "expert" feature that must be turned on manually. In Lion, it's always on, and made more accessible to novice users though the iOS-like use of Full Screen Apps, which take up an entire Space. So rather than juggling a variety of virtual desktops (an idea that is often confusingly complex, particularly for less technical users), Spaces is now a very visual tool for moving between a number of Full Screen Apps, much more akin to the iPad.







Power users can continue to manage multiple Spaces configured with specific apps, and more easily switch between them using Mission Control. But even users who have a hard time conceptualizing different virtual desktops can now take multiple apps (such as Mail, Safari, Preview, iCal, and so on) Full Screen and easily swap between them, just as one might jump between iOS apps running in the background.



On page 2 of 3: New multitouch gestures in Lion: 2 finger F10.



New multitouch gestures in Lion: 2 finger F10



Apple has also made it easier to access these functions, using intuitive new multitouch gestures. The first is a two fingered upward swipe on a Dock icon, which now invokes the F10 "app windows Exposé," displaying that app's windows currently on the desktop and presenting smaller proxies of its currently Dock-minimized windows.



For some apps, this gesture works even when the app isn't running. There's no way (and no sense) in invoking F10 for an app that isn't actively running, but in Lion, a two finger swipe up on certain Dock icons (such as Preview) shows recently opened files, even when the app isn't running.



When launched, Lion's F10 shows the app's active and Dock-minimized windows, as well as this new row of recent documents you might want to open again (as is visible below for Preview, which has one window open and shows several recent documents below it).



This new feature is not presented anywhere in the interface, including the Dock System Preferences pane, but works even on older machines with limited multitouch capabilities.







This new gesture replaces the "mouse click and hold" method of invoking the same thing. In Lion, a click and hold on a Dock icon brings up its standard contextual menu (identical to control clicking), with one new option to "Show All Windows," a manual method of invoking the same thing as the two finger swipe or an F10 key press.







On page 3 of 3: New multitouch gestures in Lion: 3 & 4 fingers.



New multitouch gestures in Lion: 3 & 4 fingers



Apple has also reconfigured three and four finger gestures in Lion (which do require a newer trackpad capable of registering more than two fingered touch points).



Previously, three fingered gestures were used to drag windows without having to click on them (although this only worked when targeting the window's menu bar). A secondary option allows for multitouch navigation (such as swiping between album photos).



Both of those previous options are still there in Lion, but the default option for three finger swipes now invokes F9 Mission Control when made upward, or F10 single app windows Exposé when made downward.







When made side to side, three finger swipes pull in Dashboard from the left, or swipe through active Spaces to the right (including any active Full Screen apps). Each Space smoothly animates in from the right or left (shown mid-swipe, below).







Four fingered swipes formerly invoked F9 upward and F11 show desktop downward. The default setting in Lion developer builds now sets four finger swipe to the same settings as three fingers, described above. Also, the four finger swipe side to side in Snow Leopard formerly brought up the App Switcher, but now it swipes in Dashboard or Spaces, a faster way to rapidly move between open, Full Screen apps.



Another new four finger gesture actually works best with five fingers: pinching all your fingers together now invokes Launchpad, the new Mac analog of the iOS Home page of launchable app icons. Expanding your fingers back out dismisses Launchpad and returns you to the desktop. From the desktop, spreading four or five fingers out performs an F11 "hide all windows/show desktop."



All of these gestures feel more intuitive and sensible, but it's not clear why three and four fingered gestures are set to perform the same task (although both can be reconfigured to perform different tasks to the preference of the user; this wasn't the case in Snow Leopard).
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Love the way Spaces works in Mission Control but I wish I could rename the Desktops.
  • Reply 2 of 52
    I've been using four-finger swipe to change Spaces for weeks (via BetterTouchTool), it's very useful.
  • Reply 3 of 52
    bartfatbartfat Posts: 432member
    Five finger controls?! Isn't the touchpad getting a bit crowded with four?
  • Reply 4 of 52
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bartfat View Post


    Five finger controls?! Isn't the touchpad getting a bit crowded with four?



    byt steve said that the touchpad was magic! if its magic it can make 5 fingers feel great on there!
  • Reply 5 of 52
    irelandireland Posts: 17,207member
  • Reply 6 of 52
    My question is how does Spaces, and Launchpad work with multiple displays?



    I like to have one application (NetNewsWire) always in my left display (all spaces), while my right display changes depending on the space (web space, email space, music space, development space, misc. space).
  • Reply 7 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Love the way Spaces works in Mission Control but I wish I could rename the Desktops.



    Great idea! I hope they also allow us to configure apps to only open documents in their assigned spaces.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    God that Dashboard background is awful.



    Agreed! The folder backgrounds in iOS is better. Maybe, they'll make the Mission Control background user customizable.
  • Reply 8 of 52
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,512member
    No matter how much Apple, or Jobs himself denies it, I think it's pretty obvious that all of these gestures aren't solely mean for a trackpad. This is definitately leading to a touch enabled iMac, or possibly a monitor.
  • Reply 9 of 52
    graxspoograxspoo Posts: 162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DeadParrot View Post


    My question is how does Spaces, and Launchpad work with multiple displays?.



    I was checking out Lion and I'm afraid as things stand, they don't work well with multiple monitors at all. For example, if you put an app into full-screen mode, and you have more than one monitor, the second monitor gets covered by a useless blank image that looks a little like cloth. Really, you'd want a separate space on each monitor, but then how would you pick which was the target of your 'switch space' command? Why not at least put the Finder in the second monitor so you could drag files into the full screen app? Whatever. These multi-touch gestures seem useless and obscure on a desktop machine. How are users ever supposed to discover them? I like the "two fingers to scroll" thing, but that's about it. I also find Exposé to be too visually disorienting. I actually like AeroPeek a lot better... which is weird because usually Windows seems like a bad Mac copy.
  • Reply 10 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    No matter how much Apple, or Jobs himself denies it, I think it's pretty obvious that all of these gestures aren't solely mean for a trackpad. This is definitately leading to a touch enabled iMac, or possibly a monitor.



    Kiosking will be a neat way to go, if apple can build a industrial strength iMac/Monitor.



    As for Jobs... my guess is he's playing Apple's cards close to the vest (like videos on an iPod, or a phone, or a tablet). There is no reason not to move to a touch screen interface... fully eliminating the mouse/trackpad intermediate experience (It's more natural to touch a screen than it is to manipulate a mouse... easier to learn, and faster to master). The trade offs are the ergometrics, and most of that would be de-evolving from the 'computer workstation' mode to the 'human workstation' mode.



    Moving to a standing workstation with a keyboard and a 24" touch screen at a 30% to horizontal plane moves so much closer to the drafting table that most designers prefer to work at anyway (think of apeture on a 46" 'lightbox'... I'm getting all randy;-))



    But it opens up the pandora's box of 'multi-hand gestures' ('measure this distance', 'link these objects'), because the workspace is so huge.



    but it's definitely a matter of when, not if. Apple will go there when the market is right, and the economics are right. No one is going to buy a 24" iMac with an integrated touch screen for $3000. When they can do it for $999/1099, then it will be done.
  • Reply 11 of 52
    myapplelovemyapplelove Posts: 1,515member
    that click and hold thing on dock icons for showing windows sucked from day 1. Never really use it, and I would wager not many do.
  • Reply 12 of 52
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,512member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post


    Kiosking will be a neat way to go, if apple can build a industrial strength iMac/Monitor.



    As for Jobs... my guess is he's playing Apple's cards close to the vest (like videos on an iPod, or a phone, or a tablet). There is no reason not to move to a touch screen interface... fully eliminating the mouse/trackpad intermediate experience (It's more natural to touch a screen than it is to manipulate a mouse... easier to learn, and faster to master). The trade offs are the ergometrics, and most of that would be de-evolving from the 'computer workstation' mode to the 'human workstation' mode.



    Moving to a standing workstation with a keyboard and a 24" touch screen at a 30% to horizontal plane moves so much closer to the drafting table that most designers prefer to work at anyway (think of apeture on a 46" 'lightbox'... I'm getting all randy;-))



    But it opens up the pandora's box of 'multi-hand gestures' ('measure this distance', 'link these objects'), because the workspace is so huge.



    but it's definitely a matter of when, not if. Apple will go there when the market is right, and the economics are right. No one is going to buy a 24" iMac with an integrated touch screen for $3000. When they can do it for $999/1099, then it will be done.



    Considering that they now have two patents for a sliding, bending monitor/computer stand specifically for this purpose, I imagine that this is being researched carefully. The fact that HP has already put one out for sale shows that Apple isn't the only one thinking this.



    I would buy a high quality high Rez 27" monitor for use with my Mac Ro, and I know others who would do the same. It wouldn't have to be an inexpensive product at first.
  • Reply 13 of 52
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,512member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by graxspoo View Post


    I was checking out Lion and I'm afraid as things stand, they don't work well with multiple monitors at all. For example, if you put an app into full-screen mode, and you have more than one monitor, the second monitor gets covered by a useless blank image that looks a little like cloth. Really, you'd want a separate space on each monitor, but then how would you pick which was the target of your 'switch space' command? Why not at least put the Finder in the second monitor so you could drag files into the full screen app? Whatever. These multi-touch gestures seem useless and obscure on a desktop machine. How are users ever supposed to discover them? I like the "two fingers to scroll" thing, but that's about it. I also find Exposé to be too visually disorienting. I actually like AeroPeek a lot better... which is weird because usually Windows seems like a bad Mac copy.



    It's possible that the feature isn't finished yet. What you describe sounds pretty odd for an Apple product. It seems too much of an oversight.
  • Reply 14 of 52
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    "with a list of options that no longer include invoking the various Exposé modes with the secondary or middle mouse button."



    No, no, no. That's how I use Expose. It's fast, it's certain, and it doesn't slow me down to hunt for one of those tiny F-keys.



    Hopefully, Apple will put this back into the shipping Lion.
  • Reply 15 of 52
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    No matter how much Apple, or Jobs himself denies it, I think it's pretty obvious that all of these gestures aren't solely mean for a trackpad. This is definitately leading to a touch enabled iMac, or possibly a monitor.



    Support for third party multitouch displays would be nice.
  • Reply 16 of 52
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DeadParrot View Post


    My question is how does Spaces, and Launchpad work with multiple displays?



    After 25 years, will Mac OS finally do something about only being able to access the menu bar on the main display?
  • Reply 17 of 52
    luinilluinil Posts: 59member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Inkling View Post


    "with a list of options that no longer include invoking the various Exposé modes with the secondary or middle mouse button."



    No, no, no. That's how I use Expose. It's fast, it's certain, and it doesn't slow me down to hunt for one of those tiny F-keys.



    Hopefully, Apple will put this back into the shipping Lion.



    Since they launched the magic trackpad, I have the feeling that they are trying to get rid of the mouse as main pointing device. (the mouse would be a secondary pointing device for when needed in some applications like a 3D mouse or a gamepad).
  • Reply 18 of 52
    koheletkohelet Posts: 58member
    Sounds like my 2009 W. Macbook isn't going to get much, if any multitouch love :-( . Guess I'll need to purchase a Magic Trackpad...
  • Reply 19 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post


    Kiosking will be a neat way to go, if apple can build a industrial strength iMac/Monitor.



    As for Jobs... my guess is he's playing Apple's cards close to the vest (like videos on an iPod, or a phone, or a tablet). There is no reason not to move to a touch screen interface... fully eliminating the mouse/trackpad intermediate experience (It's more natural to touch a screen than it is to manipulate a mouse... easier to learn, and faster to master). The trade offs are the ergometrics, and most of that would be de-evolving from the 'computer workstation' mode to the 'human workstation' mode.



    I don't mean to be a Scrooge but there was actually a recent statement from Apple saying that they have played with touchscreen iMac-type computers but the use of a large multi-touch pad perpendicular to the display is much more ergonomic. It would also require that Apple completely re-design the OS to be touch-friendly. That would mean 3 OS's. A fully mobile touch interface (iPad/iPhone), a touch interface that still contains the complexities of a full OS (purported touch-iMax) and the non-touch OS like on MacBook Pros. There would be WAY too much confusion for the common user. Also, such a device would cause confusion for consumers on which to buy, an iPad, TouchMac or Mac. Apple seems to love a well-defined line between their products so that you will buy ALL of them. A Mac for home, an iPad for the bus and and an iPhone for everything else.
  • Reply 20 of 52
    povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    I want to see more Magic Mouse love.
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