I have to admit that i do not quite understand most of gnome3 fans arguments.
Switching applications by flicking my mouse up to the top left and clicking a large image now feels so much quicker and more efficient than using a panel or dock based switcher.
I am using a xfce4-panel, in top of the screen, with about 8 applications launchers on it. I can adjust panel's size as i wish, i can move it around or i can set it in autohide mode. Also, there is the MintMenu with a different set of "favourites" available. Many large images indeed.
Finally, one of the Gnome team's statements was that removing a visible list of running applications removes distraction, makes users unnecessarily switch between apps less often and therefore increases productivity (or words to that effect).
Great thought. But it's up to me if i have anywhere in the sceen those visible list of running applications, autohide that list or remove it and using Alt+Tab instead. I do not need Gnome 3 for this.
No, you can't plop icons all over the desktop
But i am keeping my desktop clear of all icons, no shortcuts there, nothing. Sorry Gnome devs, for not waiting you to tell me this!
Just hit the windows key and start typing and--bam there it is. Hit enter. Done
Or, just hit Alt+F2, start typing and--bam there it is. Hit enter. Done.
Or, just Shift +F2 (my gmrun shortcut), start typing and--bam there it is. Hit enter. Done.
Or, a preferrable combination of keys to start immediately any application. I keep my shortcuts written in conky -my reminder.
So, after the wheel, they are re-inventing the fire. Cheers.
Do I really need to minimize every window after every use and fish around for the next one? Nope
Me neither. I never minimize windows.
As a conclusion, i have to say that i do not foresee any possible advantages in following that "innovation". In fact, they are telling you what is best for you and they force you to follow these "suggestions"
ps: I do not think that Gnome shells differs a lot from unity.