While I am resetting my thoughts on UI design, I am wondering what use people have for applications as a metaphor. As a bundle of code implementing useful features, they matter but should users know about them or can they just work with documents? Where would Microsft Office monopoly be if applications disappeared from the users view?
What if we killed the notion of Word, as an application, and replaced it with an assortment of blank papers, each designed for specific tasks like report, invoice, resume, or letter of resignation? So, instead of launching Word then selecting a template, user simply navigate to a page listing different types of documents and selects one.
It's the same with email and IM. navigate to the email or IM page to send/receive emails or start an IM session. Notifications of newly arrived email or IM request can be done with blinking icons on the toobar.
Too wild? Hmm.