Major new features in the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard like Time Machine are great, but I've been thinking about all the other aspects of the Mac OS X experience that could use some spit and polish from Apple's engineers. They've done a fantastic job building a damn impressive OS over the years, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvements both big and small (besides: they have to keep their OS product cycle on a good pace). Following is a list of 10 unlikely requests I have for the next version of Mac OS X that might not be worthy of a Stevenote, but they could bring smiles and sighs of satisfied relief to many a user:
- Removing applications - and all their baggage: Deleting (or "uninstalling") an app on Mac OS X is easy: you just move it to the trash. But what about all the extra data apps create when you use them (databases, media libraries, etc.)? Sure there are 3rd party apps like AppZapper that truly remove the app and all those extras, but I think Leopard needs an integrated, obvious and thorough process for removing apps and their extra baggage (perhaps AppZapper could go the way of CoverFlow?). I can't count the number of times I've been asked how to do it by users both old and new. This method could include a dialog when dragging an app to the trash which asks the user if they want to nuke the 'extra' files like Application Support directories and preferences. I know many apps don't leave much behind, but it all can pile up, and there are at least a few apps that really know how to gobble up the mega and gigabytes. To help everyone get on the same page though, a dedicated System Preferences pane would work best.
- Don't make me eject an idle drive: This one is always a tricky conversation, and I should disclose up front that I am certainly no developer. All I know is that it seems just a little strange in the year 2006 (or 2007, once Leopard is released) that I still have to eject a flash drive I haven't touched in two hours. Mac OS X is now both smart and pretty - I don't think it should be that hard to implement some kind of smart ejection system that can eject the drive when not in use, but fire it back up when needed. Further, if we set my lazy nerd ambitions aside for a moment, I'm sure this would save the lives of countless finance reports and term papers for all those users who don't understand what 'ejecting' a drive means or why they have to do it.