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Chapter 3. Mac OS X Basics > The Apple Menu

The Apple Menu

In 1984, Apple introduced what many MS Windows users now call the Start menu. The Apple menu has provided an access point for small applications and system controls. Originally, the Mac OS allowed only special applications called Desk Accessories to exist in the Apple menu. Later, the menu became a simple folder that a user could place an application or folder in, and then access that item from within any application, at any time.

Unfortunately, the Apple menu also became the dumping point for just about anything. Applications that could best be described as control panels (because they configured system-wide functionality) started to show up under the Apple menu. The more complex the menu became, the less user friendly was the result. Under Mac OS X, this has been corrected by restricting the Apple menu to system-wide tasks that are helpful to anyone using the operating system. The Mac OS X Apple menu is seen in Figure 3.6.


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