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OS X Yosemite: Did Apple's Dock Get Better?

by: E. Werner Reschke | Jun 06, 2014
Categories: OS X, WWDC

Osx_yosemite-finder

Not much has been said about the Dock in OS X Yosemite. Tim and Craig briefly touched on the flatter interface and how the windows are more translucent — adapting to the “temperature” of the surrounding environment (via the desktop background picture). But there are other refinements within the Dock that didn’t make it in OS X Mavericks that will be part of OS X Yosemite:

1. Dock Returns to Its Roots — no longer 3D

OS X Tiger Dock

The Dock has lost its 3D shelf look and now is back to the same 2D look found in earlier versions of OS X. A minor adjustment, but icons no longer appear hovering over the thick steel plate.

 

2. Glow Indicators Replaced by tiny black dots

To see which apps are currently running there are little tiny black dots under each app instead of the white glowing orb. I wasn’t a huge fan of the glow-lights before, but don’t know if the dots will be more or less visible or helpful. At this point, it is a sideways move, more than an improvement. One would think a more distinct solution would be to have the apps not running shift into a semi-transparent state, making it easier to distinguish between app states: running or not running. 

3. Finder Icon: Is Yosemite Happier than Mavericks?

OS X Finder icons: Mavericks vs Yosemite

The Finder icon on the right (Yosemite) looks happier than the one in OS X Mavericks dock, while receiving a color shift. The long horizontal line that made the nose and separated the two faces — extending above the head and below the chin — is contained within the icon in Yosemite’s version. The icon no longer has square edges but slightly rounded corners, giving it a friendlier less 1980's computer look. This is also true with the thinner black lines and rounded edges of these strokes. The original Aqua themed glossy/reflective look is no longer present  within the Dock icons, delivering a more iOS look, if not a more refined feel.

Maybe it is all these changes combined that make OS X Yosemite seem "happier" — or maybe it is because the refinements put in play by Jony Ive are finally coming to light on the desktop. One thing is clear, the skewmorphic, 3D look and feel found in earlier OS X versions is gone, in favor of a cleaner, if not simplified, design.

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10 Comments

  1. mhikl ~ June 06, 2014 11:04

    Good points all round. Especially like your idea of semi-transparent in point 2. Hope you send the idea off to Timboy. #
  2. Brian M ~ June 06, 2014 11:58

    For many years I have used a hidden dock option that used translucent dock icons to indicate hidden apps (running, but the Hide command had been used) it still works in Mavericks (does require a terminal command - defaults write. do a google search, I found several pages with the instructions) #
  3. Wade ~ June 06, 2014 12:22

    Personally I hate the 2D look of the Dock. Oh well. #
  4. Sascha M ~ June 10, 2014 00:51

    The 2D dock is the most ugliest design move Apple could do... #
  5. marine6870 ~ June 14, 2014 22:47

    the dock looks awful and the icons look like a 6th grader designed them. look like cartoons. YECK! why don't they give us options to change?? Linux you can change everything icons themes etc and make your desktop an extension of you. imho #
  6. Mike M ~ June 29, 2014 21:59

    The 2D dock just looks terrible compared to the current 3D version. The icons I think look good but not in 2D. They need to be 3D. Disappointed in the feel of these #
  7. Steve ~ July 04, 2014 06:28

    The seems to be a move to a UI that is: "CLEANER" but it's also more childlike. I wish Apple would utilise the power of there computers to allow the user more choice offer the look and feel of the UI. Add a small setting "3D or 2D"? The hardware is capable of the less "Clean" 3D look so give me the choice. #
  8. Robert ~ July 10, 2014 06:18

    I tried out the DP1 of Yosemite and the first thing I noticed was the dock, IT LOOKS LIKE A CARTOON!!! I have been using Macs since Snow Leopard and have always liked the 3d look of the dock. I didn't really need any dots to remind me which apps were open because I usually have only one thing open, my browser. With the new look of Yosemite, I think I will wait until somebody makes a 3rd party app to change the dock back to S.L./Lion/ M.L. /Mavericks look. As the Grinch told Sam I Am "I do not like them in a box.I do not like them with a fox.I do not like them in a house.I do not like them with a mouse.I do not like them here or there.I do not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham.I do not like them, Sam I am." #
  9. ibuick ~ July 15, 2014 09:54

    Apple's design is pretty complicated these days... If Scott Forstall had not been fired, OS X Yosemite will be more beautiful than what it is now #
  10. Taj Armstrong ~ July 16, 2014 18:44

    However, at the end of Sam I Am, the narrator (your Grinch) says "I do so like green eggs and ham. Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-Am." Hmm... #

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