The evolution of desktop applications

The first desktop applications I used were macdraw, macwrite and eudora. They were simple, elegant and I felt like they were made for me.

But as new versions rolled out they became increasingly richer with new capabilities. Some of them died because a new thing with more stuff offered users additional functionality with each year.

But 20 years later I am so pleased that these desktop applications are evolving in more interesting ways.

Web applications have changed my life. I use google docs instead of ms office. I use aviary instead of adobe creative suite. And I use gmail instead of apple mail.

Web apps or apps in the cloud offer so many compelling things and it’s nice to avoid installing updates, fucked up crashing and heavy apps.

For the past month, I’ve been beta testing the next version of a well known desktop office suite. And here’s the thing, this version is much better than the last version. But in a very predictable way. It’s a bit more stable and brings a ton of new features that I will never ever use.

Compare that unnamed desktop suite with Apple’s iPad apps.

Keynote on iPad is way more interesting than it’s desktop counterpart. I honestly don’t know how to add animations on keynote for Mac OS. But it’s a breeze to do on the iPad. And while I know how to add images and shapes on keynote on the Mac, it’s just much more fun and inspiring to do it on keynote for iPad.

Some say the iPad is best suited for content consumption and not content creation. I believe it’s partially true because many app developers haven’t changed their perspective for a touch interface.

And that perspective is a big deal and a big opportunity.

If you notice Steve Jobs only mentioned Mac OS X once in his wwdc opening speech. Once.

It’s clear that he has big plans for iPhone OS (which is now called iOS). New devices like next gen laptops and desktop computers running iOS and touch screen displays are going to require brand new ways of creating apps that are native to touch.

I am so excited about the possibilities.

(excuse the typos and lack of links. Wrote this on my iPhone).