Apple, let’s rethink the Dashboard and make it more useful

Apple better have a use for the Dashboard, because as it stands it’s probably the most pointless, useless part of Lion. How many of you use the Dashboard to crunch numbers with the calculator? How many of you use it for anything else?

Exactly, a whole major part of an operating system built just for crunching numbers.

There’s so much potential for the Dashboard, and yet it goes on year after year doing nothing but eating up CPU cycles and mowing down RAM like it’s going out of style. Were not sure why Apple hates Dashboard so much, but we have a couple of ideas that will make the Dashboard a lot more useful both now and in the future.

iOS apps as Dashboard Apps

Fine. The thought of iOS applications, and more specifically iPhone applications, in the Dashboard isn’t exactly a new thought. It’s been floating around on the Internet since Lion was rumoured to be released, and everyone began to realize that Apple’s planning on merging iOS and OS X at some point in the future.

How many fantastic applications do you use on your iPhone that you wish you could get access to on the Mac? Floating an app like Tweetbot in my main working window wouldn’t exactly be the best place to put an application these days. I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but Twitter is very distracting when you’re actually trying to get work done. The Dashboard would be the ideal place for Apple to roll out iOS apps in Lion.

Which leads me to my next point.

Always-Open apps as Dashboard apps

Most of us probably have two or three applications that run all day long. For me it’s Twitter for Mac, Skype, Adium, Linkinus, and iTunes. Those applications are never closed for me, and they either spend their time minimized to my dock, or more likely, hiding behind my other applications. Out of sight, out of mind. But, there’s probably a better place for me to keep my ‘out of sight, out of mind’ applications — the Dashboard.

Apple released full-screen apps with Lion, and it’s been a pretty positive experience for applications that need their own focused work space, but what about those apps that don’t need focus? Why don’t we encourage developers to put them in Dashboard?

I’d love it if Skype, Adium, and Linkinus were Dashboard applications. They would be easily accessible, they wouldn’t clutter up my main work environment, and more importantly they would rid me from the distraction they cause when they accidentally catch my attention because I hit CMD+TAB one too many times.

The fix could be as simple as letting me put any applications I want in there. Why there needs to be a differentiation between widget and application is beyond me.

Dashboard could be great if only someone cared enough to make it great.

Your thoughts

What do you think? How would you maximize the utility of the Dashboard? We want to hear from you in the comments. Let us know if/why you continue to use the Dashboard, and how you think you could make it better. Inquiring minds want to know!

Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio