in every user interface study we’ve ever done […], [we found] it’s pretty easy to learn how to use these things ‘til you hit the file system and then the learning curve goes vertical. So you ask yourself, why is the file system the face of the OS? Wouldn’t it be better if there was a better way to find stuff?
Now, e-mail, there’s always been a better way to find stuff. You don’t keep your e-mail on your file system, right? The app manages it. And that was the breakthrough, as an example, in iTunes. You don’t keep your music in the file system, that would be crazy. You keep it in this app that knows about music and knows how to find things in lots of different ways. Same with photos: we’ve got an app that knows all about photos. And these apps manage their own file storage. […]
And eventually, the file system management is just gonna be an app for pros and consumers aren’t gonna need to use it.
What Steve is describing is how iOS works, and how people will be able to use OS X Mountain Lion. For power users, the file system is great, but for your average computer users, it just makes everything more complicated. You would be surprised with how many people don’t really know how to manage a file system.
And if you don’t know how to use and manage a file system, you’re not getting the most out of your computer, you’re misplacing files and you are probably unhappy frequently with your computer. Or you become one of those people who stores everything on the desktop, because, hey, that’s at least one spot that you know how to reach. Of course, your desktop then becomes so cluttered that it’s useless for storing files.
There are limitations to the iOS model (how do multiple apps access and work with the same file?), but it is a system that works very well for novice users. An iPad is much easier to pick up and use than a Mac or PC, and a large part of that is how much easier it is to manage files.