The original 1984 Mac didn’t abstract away the computer — it made the computer itself elegant, simple, and understandable. Very, very little was hidden from the typical user. Mac OS X is vastly more complex technically and conceptually, as it must be due to the vastly increased complexity and capability of today’s hardware. But Mac OS X has always tried to have it both ways: a veneer of simplicity that doesn’t cover the entire surface of the system. The user-exposed file system is a prime example. On the 1984 Mac, the entire file system was exposed, but the entire file system fit on a 400 KB floppy disk. On Mac OS X, the /System/Library/ folder, one of many exposed fiddly sections of the file system browsable in the Finder, contains over 90,000 items, not one of which a typical user should ever need to see or touch.
The iPhone OS offers a complete computing abstraction. Under the hood, it’s just as complex as Mac OS X. On the surface, though, it is even more simple and elegant than the original Mac. No technical complexity is exposed. Hierarchy is minimized. It relegates the file system to a developer-level technology rather than a user-level technology. (Did you know the file system on iPhones is case sensitive?)
Espero viver para ver o dia em que as expressões "ficheiro" ou "memória" deixarão de fazer sentido enquanto metáfora computacional corrente e tudo passe para a nuvem: uma experiência computacional em que as únicas ferramentas são um user name e uma password. Isso sim, não seria como 1984.