Apps? They’re So Old-School

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Apps? They’s so old-school.

If you’ve ever encountered the phrase “user interface” before, you’ll probably understand it to mean the stuff we see when we look at computer screens.

Another geeky phrase, “Moore’s Law”, refers to the ever-advancing march of computing in a single direction: our devices get smaller, faster, more powerful, and yet relatively cheaper, with every passing year.

Mash these two ideas together, and what do you get? Some pretty wild thinking, it turns out.

User interface expert Scott Jenson wrote this article about what he calls “The coming zombie apocalypse” of small, cheap devices.

Smart electronic things are soon going to be so cheap, they can be embedded everywhere.

They’re going to be so small, and so ubiquitous, that the methods we use to interact with them will be giving UI experts headaches for years to come. For one thing, a lot of these devices won’t even have screens.

But that’s okay, because you already have a screen in your pocket, on your smartphone. What if your smartphone can automatically recognize, respond to, and display information about (or from) any smart devices that are nearby?

Jenson writes:

“These new smart devices are turning our original desktop-PC-as-hub model on its head. People used to choose between a Mac and a PC and then buy hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of software, becoming locked into a single platform on a single device. But now there‚Äôs a different model forming in which people work with multiple devices on the same data, usually through the cloud.”

In Jenson’s future world, the idea of downloading “apps” is quaint and old-fashioned. There is no “app” – there’s just the instant exchange of data between your pocket and the smart objects all around you. You don’t need a bus timetables app, you just need the bus stop to tell you how long it’s going to be before the bus you want is going to arrive.