Launchpad tries to bring an iOS-style app interace to OS X. Whether you like it or not, it’s here to stay. Introduced in OS X Lion, Launchpad arranges the apps you have installed on your Mac in a grid array, much like the apps are arranged on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Of course, your Mac has a much bigger screen than these iOS devices (hopefully), so there’s even more of a need to filter out the apps you don’t want so that you can find the apps you do want to find.
In iOS, as you get more and more apps installed on your device, you’re gonna end up swiping to the right of the home screen at some point and typing the name of an app into the Search field there. Prior to Mountain Lion, there was no way to do this in OS X. Now, however, there is, and I sincerely hope they bring this concept back to enrich iOS itself.
Start Launchpad, either with a keyboard hotkey (mine is set to F4), a hot-corner you’ve defined, or by clicking on the app icon in the Dock. Heck, you could even go to the Applications folder and double click on the Launchpad app in there. Though, why?
Anyway, once it’s launched, you’ll notice a search field at the top. It’s more of a filtering field. Type in the letters just by typing – there’s no need to click into the field there. Launchpad will then filter down all the apps it has to those named with the same text string as your typing. For instance, I typed in “ga” and got GarageBand, Game Center, Game Manager, and Game Fly. It will only match the start of the app name, so if I typed in “ame,” I wouldn’t get any of those apps.
Oddly, Launchpad will find apps that even sort of start with the letters you type, if they are capital letters. In other words, if you type in “w” you’ll get iWeb; type in “p,” and you’ll get iPhoto. Type in “iw” and “ip,” and you’ll also get these apps in your filtered list. Weird, but good to know.