Mar 12th, 2010

Killing the User-Accessible File System in Three Easy Steps

Just following up on my last article, these are three things that Apple did in order to be able to hide the file system in their new iPhone OS.

Step One

Flush the file browser and reinforce the convention of “the app and all its stuff.” Get rid of the idea of “files” as much as possible. Almost everything the user needs is connected to the app that created it. Rely on the Internet for file sharing where needed.

Step Two

Make some very simple, universally shared databases. Start with photos and videos and make them available to any app. Add a shared contacts database to enable folks to build apps that help people “do social media stuff‚” more easily. Make these good enough that they become the standards.

Step Three

Take a long-standing file convention and make it built-in. When “Family Tech Support Specialists” help someone, they often create a shortcut to an app and place it on the desktop to make it easier to find. So make one big hardware button that takes you to a “desktop‚” where you can tap on a “shortcut” to launch an app.

Foreign Countries and Their Military Implements

User-accessible file systems are the Swiss Army Knives of software. They allow people to do just about anything with any file. They empower tech-savvy folks to customize and optimize and monetize and capitalize and philosophize and ultimately bend files to their will. But just like hardly anyone needs one of these bad boys to carry around all the time, visible file systems have little value for the average Joe.

Regrets

This is slightly off-topic, but it just occurred to me. It’s really too bad I never patented the desktop icon method of launching an app. I could sue for intimidation and/or money.


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