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6 Things Apple Should Improve in OS X 10.10

WWDC is tomorrow, where Apple is likely to announce a new version of OS X. Here's what we'd like to see.

1. AV Foundation improvements

There are so many improvements needed for AV Foundation that it merits an article of its own, but a few would be expanded codec support, easier extensibility, LOTS of bug fixes and the ability to stream Airplay video without ugly hacks.

2. Mac App Store improvements

Apple should allow app developers to request exemptions from sandboxing rules. We feel that the strict rules hurt the user experience and even removed one of our apps as a result of this.

Other areas for improvement would be the ability to hide third-party updates and not requiring a password for free updates (this can get tedious if you have multiple accounts).

3. Files in use

OS X frequently marks files in use when they aren't, which can cause issues copying or deleting files and also when emptying the Trash.

I have a theory that this may be caused by QuickLook trying to generate icon previews for these files but it's difficult to pinpoint.

This bug is especially frustrating when using network drives as OS X frequently creates temp files that can only be deleted after unmounting and remounting the drive.

4. Make full screen work on the current display only - don't let it blank out every other monitor

Full screen functionality was improved significantly in Mavericks with the "Displays have separate Spaces" option in the Mission Control section of System Preferences, but many people had to switch it off and revert to the old system due to compatibility issues (mine were with FCP 7).

When switching back to the old way of doing things on a shared Space, OS X blanks out all monitors even if there is nothing displaying on them.

I think the solution to this problem is a blacklist where users can specify apps that should only use the current Space on another monitor without disabling it for compatible apps.

5. Network drive / VPN improvements

It is clear that Apple is assuming most users are saving files to HFS+ formatted SSDs. This is apparent when mounting a drive over a VPN connection because Finder and many other Apple apps experience very poor performance.

In fact, I completely eschew Apple apps over a VPN and use Path Finder as a Finder replacement and AppCode as an Xcode substitute because those apps do not read or write to disk unnecessarily and handle these issues much better.

6. Bug fixes

Apple is announcing a new OS when arguably Mavericks still needs a lot of bug fixes. Some of the issues I am still experiencing in 10.9.3 are:

  • Hang when copying certain files to a network volume
  • Audio output randomly disappearing (speaker icon becomes greyed out), requiring a restart
  • Exposé sometimes fails, meaning it's difficult to exit it and switch back to an application, requiring a restart
  • Plugging in a monitor and closing the laptop lid sometimes makes it sleep randomly in the middle of me working. It also sleeps if I disconnect the charger.
  • Periodic freezes where the mouse moves but everything else is frozen.
  • Occasional apps that cannot be closed, which requires a hard reset because they stop OS X from shutting down
  • Other people have also reported issues in OpenCL apps with 10.9.3

With these issues in mind, I would be very happy if Apple institutes a Snow Leopard-style overhaul. Snow Leopard was so stable it took me a long time to upgrade and many of our customers are still using it.

I'm also hoping that Apple recently opening up the beta program to non-developers helps to address this, but if it doesn't I feel that Apple should not commit to a yearly upgrade schedule if they cannot guarantee quality.

Posted by Jon Chappell on Jun 1 2014 to Analysis, Apple, Software