If you take a look at this blog post from April, the developer does a great job of explaining the current state of web apps and how Ajax minimizes the inherit lag time of the web. His take is that Client-Server applications will become the new way of doing things (at least for the next 15 years or so). Build two applications – one for the client and one for the server – sharing data as needed. It’s a ‘thick client’.
Daniel Eran Dilger at Roughly Drafted Magazine speculates that this is Apple’s first foray into web apps and a way to kill Flash, Air and Sliverlight. True or not it’ll be interesting to see if Apple ‘got it’ early this time.
I still have my doubts about web apps being more like desktop apps. It still seems that you’re limited to the browser and implementing multi-step undo will be difficult. Things like being in the middle of a form and accidently quitting the browser and losing your edits (because the app can’t stop and ask if you want to save your changes before closing) are significant features that will have to be overcome.
But, perhaps the solution isn’t a true web browser experience. Perhaps it’s using a web browser control in a thin desktop client application. If the controls act and work the same as a desktop application would the user ever know the difference? Interesting times I think.