Why Didn’t Apple Kill Dashboard in Yosemite?

Apple’s new operating system Yosemite is about to launch, and for those desperate to still check the snow report whilst doing a simple calculation and noting the time in several different countries: Good news! Dashboard is still alive and kicking.

Yosemite looks great; lots of simple, clean shapes mixed with subtle transparent effects that are very reminiscent of iOS. There’s many new and improved features including an upgrade to the Notification Center. It too has been made to closely resemble its iOS counterpart, now containing Widgets that you can customise to suit your needs.

Notification Center in Yosemite as shown on Apple.com
Notification Center in Yosemite as shown on Apple.com
Widgets? We’ve Been Here Before…

Of course, Widgets have been part of OS X for a very long time – since OS X 10.4 Tiger in fact – hidden away in the Dashboard app. When they first appeared the idea was fantastic; simple, quick-loading apps that you can call up, use and dismiss incredibly smoothly.

The real killer feature though was supposed to be the ability for 3rd party Widgets to be installed. The potential was huge and the possibilities endless, but for whatever reason Dashboard never really took off. Six versions of OS X later and nothing much has changed in the app, it still looks almost the same as when it launched in 2005 and decent new Widgets are virtually non-existent.

The tired-looking Dashboard in Mavericks
The tired-looking Dashboard in Mavericks
Poor Neglected Dashboard

Even the official Apple Widget page looks tired, outdated and unloved. There’s no featured Widgets, new releases or even a decent way to search. And boy does that beveled Aluminium grill effect looks old.

Ironically it’s probably iOS that put Dashboard into this comatose state. Everything that Dashboard does can be done so much easier from your mobile device, and on-the-go too. There are of course a select few who still use Dashboard in Mavericks, but it’s mainly for dated Widgets they can’t let go, or Safari Web Clip hacks. The truth is that most people who still use Dashboard only do so for one thing: Calculator.

Apple.com Dashboard Widgets
Apple’s outdated Dashboard Widgets page
New and Shiny

The new Notification Center on Yosemite is pretty much a replica of that on iOS. Calendar, Stocks, Weather, Reminders and now – of course – Calculator. And the real buzz: 3rd party apps, available through the App Store.

So why can’t Apple bear to let Dashboard go? Safari Web Clips aside, there’s little that you can’t do in Notification Center now. And it’s just as quick to load, less obtrusive and far more aesthetically pleasing.

You have to feel sorry for Dashboard, neglected for so many years – and even partly paving the way for how iOS apps work – now only to be pushed aside for its better-looking, smarter younger sibling. But there’s no point living in the past when there’s a new tool that does things far better.

Come on Apple, it’s time to put Dashboard out of its misery and kill it off.