In the days leading up to the iPad announcement, a passionate tech crew thought that we’d see the future of computing within Apple’s tablet. Steve Jobs was vaguely quoted as saying it was the most important project he’s ever worked on and hysterical rumors of motion sensitive tracking with a custom UI would help Apple succeed where others had failed. While we weren’t given anything close to what the Minority Report future might bring, it’s possible we’ve been given the first glimpse into Apple’s next major operating system.
Nick Bilton from the NYTimes wrote a piece about the evolution of computers and how users interacted with them. We started with Dos prompts, the least user-friendly OS to ever grace a computer. Eventually it evolved into a then intuitive design of folders, icons, and application windows that made it miles easier for the user than command line. But where do we go from here? There’ll come a day where we look back at how unmodern and unintuitive computing is today.
On January 27th, much of the world was underwhelmed with Apple’s supposed idea that could have been the future of computing. The notion that a mobile phone OS could simply be scaled larger without crazy UI overhauls doesn’t sit well when they compare the competition. But what if the iPad was the second step in forcing the computing world (or a portion of it) to a new idea of what we consider desktop computing. Computing where the file structure and clumsiness of window upon window shift towards a more simplistic approach that’s easier to use as a whole.
Take what Apple’s done with Front Row where they’ve added a UI overlay that pulls your media together without having to mess with a single file or folder. Apply that idea to the whole Mac OS, changing the way you interact with your computer. When you open an application it knows the files that it can support, pulling them front and center. All your documents are no longer scattered throughout the file hierarchy and all your photos are presented with any application written to access your photo library.
If you think computers will always be how they are now, you’re sorely mistaken. Today as we’re busy looking back at where we’ve been, we’ll miss the opportunity to think ahead to where we could go. Check out Nick Bilton’s full article over at the NYTimes.