It's obvious by now that the Dock is Steve's pet feature, otherwise such a usability nightmare would have been scrapped long ago. Yeah, I've kind of gotten used to it, but still: it's awful.
It fails most prominently as an application launcher. First of all, it can only hold a handful of your apps. If you add too many, they will be too tiny to be practical.
Second, this is clearly the case when a word is worth a thousand pictures. If I look for Photoshop, I want to find it under "P," not "next to the icon with the QuickTime logo, not far from the stamp icon." You can alphabeticize names. You cannot put icons in any meaningful order. So every time I look for an app in the Dock, I waste several seconds, and grow just a bit more frustrated.
Luckily, there is (or rather, was) a solution. I put my Applications folder in the Dock. I click on it, and up pops the entire hierarchical list of all my apps. This is such a great shortcut that I cannot live without it.
In fact, every time I sit down to anyone's Mac, I make sure to put the Applications folder in their Dock. That's the only way I can even begin to work. After I'm done, I leave it there. Nobody complains.
It should be there by default.
Shockingly, Apple is disabling this functionality. According to David Pogue:
I'm not totally sold on the Stacks feature. That's where you click a folder icon on your Dock, and rather than a complete menu of the folder's contents, you get a fan or a grid that shows an array of the actual icons inside. Trouble is, if there are more than 24 items in that folder (depending on your screen size), you get only a partial list. To see the rest of the contents, you have to click the icon that says, "35 more in Finder," which opens that folder's actual desktop window.Wow. I didn't see this one coming.
There's no way to make the Dock show the complete list of folder contents anymore; nor can you stick your hard drive's icon in the Dock and have complete, drill-down, hierarchical access to your entire computer, as you could before.
This can very easily be a dealbreaker for me. I'm not joking.