Unfortunately some idiots in control at Apple have decided to merge the interface of the successful iPhone and iPad user interface with the desktop interface -- presumably because of the success of the mobile devices. The problem is a computer is still a computer, or a desktop is still a desktop, or a laptop is still a laptop. Desktops and laptops don't need super skinny scroll bars like the iPhone does. They might not even need all of the touch gestures that the iPhone or iPad need. Sure Apple's mobile devices have excellent user interface design, but their success doesn't mean that mobile features should be incorporated backward into the desktop design, at least not at the expense of the desktop operating system.
Not only have the mobile retro effects been illogically applied on desktop or even notebook computers, Apple has become sloppy with the reliability and user friendliness of the user interface with OS X Lion. New Apple computers come default with a disappearing scroll bar. the scroll bar is often slow to appear, and just plain annoying. Does a user really need the extra 3 mm of desktop that a disappearing scroll bar provides. A user familiar the old permanent scroll bars has to search Google or search settings to figure out how to get a permanent scroll bar back. Come on Apple, at least have the default set to keep the scroll bars. Remember those balloon help popups you had with System 7? Maybe its time to bring them back, instead of drastically changing your Mac OS X interface. You can give people a hint, so if they want to get rid of scroll bars when they're not in use, they can try it and see if they like it.
Reversing the 'gesture' or mouse control direction of desktop machines and laptops to coincide with your mobile devices was really a fun little prank you pulled on us users. Again, a little searching on Google or exploring the System Settings can get a user back to the scroll control that they're accustomed to using. Otherwise they can acclimate themselves to the new directional control. But how about a little warning? At least in the Outer Limits television show, they warned us ...
"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to — The Outer Limits."
— Opening narration, The Control Voice, 1960s
Speaking of Operating System pranks, its is especially fun to get the text popups of the Safari window that is behind the top, front Safari window. On many occasions users see totally unrelated text popups on their browser window when moving their mouse across the page. Turns out those popups are from another window behind the top window.
Pranky, wanky ... love the way the OS X and Safari browser simply reloads when the system is low on memory. It is so fun to get logged out of accounts because the operating system or Safari browser decides its time to reload. How about designing Safari a little better? Or maybe a get a little less skimpy with RAM (random access memory).
The best prank of all is the disappearing mouse arrow. You can't see it, but you know it's there because you can make menus pull down with the invisible cursor. Or you can just randomly click, and see what happens -- kind of like mouse cursor roulette. Here in Chicago, as kids, we used to watch Bozo's circus. Some magic arrows used to circulate the audience of kids and parents with the magic of television. If the magic arrows landed on a lucky kid, they got to play the 'Grand Prize Game' -- a game that involved tossing a ping pong ball into a successively numbered series of buckets in line on the floor. If a kid made it to the sixth bucket, they would win -- with an 'at home' player -- prizes, such as cash, a bike, a toy, or even a trip for their family. These Bozo Buckets games -- complete with circus band music -- were quite popular and very suspenseful. So using Mac OS X Lion is a little like watching Bozo's magic arrows or playing the 'Grand Prize Game' -- except there's no prize except for a waste time associated with a reboot of the Mac.
Steve Jobs certainly is turning over in his grave already, or maybe he's not ...
"There is nothing wrong with your computer. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will tell you what a comfortable computer user experience is. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can reload your web pages whenever we want. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to the crystal clarity of stunning display. We can obsolete your hardware with a new software upgrade. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. Don't worry about getting anything done at work, just be amazed by our amazing awesomeness. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your computer. You are about to participate in a great adventure. The unlocking of your wallet and absorption of your dwindling money supply while you increasingly become addicted to our increasingly beautiful, but unreliable products. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to — The Outer Limits of Apple OS X and iOS. Don't think different any more, just think like us since we've become filthy rich making Apple iPhones that you can use while you walk aimlessly into traffic while you text your friends."
Opening sequence from the original broadcast of The Outer Limits, 1961.