I like os x because its UI is pretty & functional at the same time. OS X does have it’s fancy visual effects, but in most cases the effects are done well enough that they don’t get in the way of your work.
Expose is a great example of this. The zoom effect always take the same amount of time no-matter how many windows you have open, and its done quick enough that it doesn’t get in the way. Sheets are an example of when Apple (in my opinion) slowed things down for the sake of coolness. Don’t get me wrong, I love sheets, I think they are an awesome UI element. Apple just made the default fold out speed way too slow! The coolness of watching the save dialog sheet fold out of it’s parent window for two seconds looses it’s coolness if you save 100 files a day. To make it usable on a daily basis the default sheet fold out speed should be drastically increased.
So what prompted me to write this article, everything I’ve just said has already been discussed all over the net. It’s this new disc burning application, Disco and its smoke. I have to admit, my first reaction when I saw the screencast was just like everyone else, “Wow. That is freakin’ amazing.” But after thinking about it for a while, who wants smoke spewing all over their screen and sucking up CPU cycles; isn’t there enough happening on our screens already and enough effects sucking up CPU & GPU resources? I have to agree with Adam that the desktop is starting to look more and more like a flash animation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as developers (Apple in particular) keep our interfaces fast, good-looking, and functional; understanding how much animation and flashiness is too much, and not crossing the line of counter-productive flashiness.