Having used Windows 7 for some time in the past months (I’m always curious to see whether Windows is getting better or not), I’m particularly impressed by the usefulness of Aero Peek, a feature that allows you to get a quick preview of a program window by simply hovering over its icon in the taskbar. It’s pretty handy and fast at letting you see what you’re about to open.
Well, HyperDock for Mac (released as beta) does just that: it brings Aero Peek functions to OS X through a completely native application that not only works great (I repeat, it’s a first beta) but it manages to combine a handful of other features with window previews, turning out to be a must-have tool for serious Mac users already.
I’ve been using HyperDock for a couple of hours now, and I’m impressed by the quality of the app. It’s lightweight, it installs as a preference pane in seconds, all its changes are immediately recognized by the dock. Like I said, the most important function is the window preview for dock items – something Mac users wanted for so long. When enabled, a stack-like translucent popup containing a preview of all the app’s windows will appear over the icon as your cursor moves over it. You can set the activation time of “preview bubbles” in the settings. You can also resize the bubble, blur the background, display the application name (I found this useless, you can spot the application name beneath the popup).
Apps such as iTunes and iCal get special preview bubbles: iTunes’ one displays artwork, info and music controls for the song you’re currently listening to. Very useful and nice looking. As for other settings, you can also decide to show windows from all Spaces or don’t show the bubble at all if the app has only one window open.
HyperDock also comes with some shortcut options and window management features that will make users (and our own Cody Fink) glad they installed the app. You can create keyboard shortcuts for any dock item or specific apps sitting in the dock: the idea is great and shows great room for improvement, too bad the selection of shortcuts is pretty small right now. I’m sure it’ll grow as more betas are released. Moreover, there’s an “Options” panel in the same screen I couldn’t get to work on my computer – so I guess more customization functions are ready to be unlocked in the second beta round. The last tab in HyperDock’s settings is Window Management, and as the name suggests it lets you tweak the behavior of application windows. For instance, you can resize and move windows when holding down an assigned shortcut (great) or move a window between spaces using another shortcut or arrow keys navigation. It’s simple but powerful.
HyperDock is currently in beta, promising and free. I like the window preview option a lot, and as compatibility with 3rd party apps grows (can you imagine an OmniFocus-specific popup?) HyperDock can seriously aim at becoming the ultimate app to enhance OS X dock which, admittedly, has been looking the same for quite a while now. Give it a try.
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