Why Apple Missed the Boat with Spaces

Apple’s next version of the Mac operating system, Leopard, due out in October, and is going to have a Spaces construct for dividing work into quickly referenceable projects.

Create a Space for work. Create a Space for play. Organize each Space the way you want it just by dragging in windows. Keep all your work projects in one Space and that fun flick you made in iMovie in another. Create a communication Space for iChat and Mail. You can even rearrange your Spaces with drag-and-drop ease — shift a Space and every window in it comes along for the ride.

It’s not going to work … however … because it is application-centric rather than item-centric. That is, Apple defines a “project” to go into a “space” according to the application that you’re using, not by a collection of items using that application. Hence if you have ten Safari windows open and these relate to different projects, you can’t divide them across different spaces. All Safari windows will go into one-and-only one space. Same with email … all email stuff has to go into one space … you can’t have messages related to one project in one space and messages related to another project in another space. Etc, ad infinitum. In my assessment: nice in theory, unusable in practice.

Sorry Steve & Co … unless I’ve missed a nuance, I think you need to go back to the drawing board on this one.

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