I’m not having a change of heart or a mid-life Widget crisis. Most Dashboard Widgets are pretty much worthless (to me, at least) and others agree.
However, I am rethinking the value of Widgets on my Mac, what they mean to me, what they do, and I worry whether Widget development will continue.
If most Widgets are worthless trinket toy tools, why should I worry about Widget development? It has to do with value vs. expectations.
I suppose that many of us who use dozens and dozens of Mac applications and utilities, far more than the average Mac user, are not as impressed with the features and functionality of Widgets.
To date, there are thousands of Dashboard Widgets available for Mac OS X. The last time I looked, which was just a few minutes ago, my whole screen is filled with Widgets. How many?
18 total, ranging from the ubiquitous Weather to radar, to movie show times, to daily comics, to calendar and stocks, to calculator and some specific network utilities I use. Is that too many for me to say that Widgets are worthless and still have credibility? It’s a close call.
The reality of life on the Mac is that many of the applications and utilities are use are simply more functional than Dashboard Widgets, which may account for some of my derision for the platform.
Yet, I have managed to fill up my precious screen space with plenty of Widgets that I actually use. Those hot corners are hard to top, no? Of course, a couple of dozen useful Widgets out of a few thousand available isn’t much to brag about. Or, is it?
There are somewhere around 10,000, maybe 15,000 applications and utilities available for Mac users and OS X. I have just over 100 such tools running on my Mac at any one time. Some I use all day, some I use sometimes, some I just keep because I know I’ll need to use it one day.
That’s 100 out of 10,000 to 15,000? How does that compare to say, 24 Widgets out of 2,500 Widgets available? Comparable, no? When I looked at the value Widgets gave me and compared how many I actually use with the total available, I realized that I had a similar issue with regular Mac applications and utilities.
The valuable ones I keep and use. The rest I don’t bother with, with the exception of trying out something new from time to time.
If I say that most Widgets are worthless, should I also say that most Mac applications and utilities are worthless because I don’t use them?
If there’s no money in developing Dashboard Widgets, then why do it? Why would a developer put time and effort into a utility that most people won’t use, and that won’t make anybody any money?
Since I’ve already declared that some Dashboard Widgets are worthwhile, to me, then I should be concerned about the longevity of the platform, right? It’s only fair. Does that mean we’ll start paying for Widgets to be developed? I hope not, but I worry anyway.
Recently, I added a few Widgets to my growing stable. Now I can play Pinball on my Mac. I tried out the Christmas Lights but turned them off. I still love iStat but can’t figure out the value of FaceBook Widget.
What’s your take on the future of Dashboard Widgets? Will you pay for the Widgets you like? Talk Back to Mac360 readers in the Comments section below.