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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Command performance: Mission Control

One of the reasons I still gravitate toward my Mac for most of my working needs is its unparalleled implementation of multitasking—it’s one place that the iPad still hasn’t really caught up, in my opinion. The Mac, of course, has been doing multitasking in one way or another for thirty-plus years, and in that time, while it’s gotten more powerful, it’s also gotten more overwhelming. You can be running a dozen apps on your Mac at the same time, never mind all the little programs running beneath the surface. How do you keep track of everything that’s going on?

Well, if you’re Apple, you make a feature that lets you get a top-down view of all your open windows. In 2003, as the company was introducing Mac OS X 10.3 Panther1, it showed off what it then called Exposé2. The idea was simple: hit a keystroke and all of your windows would shrink down and appear as little thumbnails, carefully laid out so as not to overlap; another key would show you just the windows for the foreground app.…

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