Inconceivable: I Can’t ‘ls -l’ My iPhone

Vizzini (played by PC World): Inconceivable.
Inigo Montoya (played by Apple Insider): You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means.

When some people (like PC World) come up with lists of “What iPhone OS 4.0 Needs” they often lists items that are not thought about from a design direction at all.  They think of a task they want to perform, look at a previous solution for that task, and proclaim that the same solution is needed here. (To be fair, PC World does not invoke as much Fire & Brimstone as others who deliver this opinion.)

We don’t need a floppy drive on the iPhone.  No one is suggesting we do, but it was only a few years ago that people were wailing for their loss on a computer (How do we manage to install new software without them?).  Now people often state they need access to the underlying file system of their iPhone.  Their phone.  They need to get to the filesystem.  And browse it.  Why? why? why?

With the announcement of the new iPad running a newer version of the iPhone OS, no doubt these statements will grow louder.  Access to the filesystem oddly makes a lot of people’s lists.

OS X provides the Finder to me, and it provides Terminal to me. I’m sure my mother doesn’t know what Terminal is, and I know she’s not overly familiar with Finder.  She uses apps.  That’s what most people do.

Apple has dared to ask “can we remove file access entirely” from the user experience.  There are some cooler heads on the Internet that notice these are interesting ideas, and they may be fruitful.  Perhaps we should give them a chance.  The answer will likely be “not entirely”, but it can be different, better for 99% of users.

Kudos, AppleInsider for exploring these concepts in a non-mellowdramatic way.