There is an article in Wired today talking about some of the new features in OS X Leopard, Apple's upcoming operating system and how these features are going to revolutionize user interfaces. The main technology behind all of this is Core Animation which is something I've been excited about for a while and have talked about here on ZDNet with regards to Apple's Rich Internet Application strategy. (CrunchGear has a short take).
One of the things that struck me about the article was that developers are so excited to create these engaging interfaces that they were planning to drop support for older versions:
"Our customers are going to have to upgrade their OS if they want to upgrade our program," Shipley says. "We realized any app we released based on Tiger (the current version of OS X) was going to look really pathetic when Leopard came out."The business sense of dropping support for older products could be debated ad nausem, but Apple is one area where user interface has always been one of the main focuses. Now Apple is doing more to reinvigorate the desktop and give developers the ability to create rich, engaging experiences. Never having developed for Mac, I can't speak to the tools, but the buzz leading up to the World Wide Developer's Conference next week seems to indicate a revamped development environment so that people can jump into Core Animation very easily.
The browser gets a lot of attention, and a lot of people don't see the value in rich experiences. I hope Apple's Leopard can show people why these kinds of interfaces are so important. As more and more people see the benefits of a great UI, Rich Internet Applications will gain even more traction. When you want to deliver them in the browser, you can use technologies like Flash/Flex and Silverlight. But desktop apps are becoming cool again, so technologies like Windows Presentation Foundation, Core Animation, and Apollo are giving developers a lot of options with which to deploy desktop apps.