Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Steven Johnson has a piece in Slate discussing how Apple is leading a move away from a single desktop metaphor for all file and data access towards more application specific interfaces. I don't think this is new. Desktop interfaces did a great job of making computers useable by large numbers of people, but they are inherently limited. (For one thing, you sacrifice power for ease of use. Trying to do the equivalent of

cat -asq */*.txt | ps -af

in a graphical desktop based interface is really slow and painful).

For another thing, this isn't especially new. I think we started the move away from the desktop to more application specific interfaces with the invention of Quicktime. And the innovator in that case was once again Apple.

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