It shouldn't be a surprise though. At least some GNOME-shell devs have said this kind of thing before though I think, "we want to design something our family can use" type of stuff.
The big questions really are whether GNOME developers are tinkering with prototyping stuff for their own enjoyment, or whether they want to have a user-base. If the latter (and it does seem from their marketing material they want users), then the question is whether or not they can make any headway into expanding into the large potential non-geeky userbase out there, while alienating a good chunk of their existing userbase. And if they can make headway, the question is whether there'd even be a net increase?
Another question is whether the passionate free OS users should advocate GNOME or Android desktops to their non-technical family & friends? Ok, it's hard to find completely free Android systems, but OTOH Android breaks a lot less, where GNOME seems to delight in rewriting a different core subsystem with every new release, and so inevitably breaking stuff. (Just when suspend & resume starts to work, GNOME 3.0 comes along and often seemed to require a "kill -9 `pidof gnome-shell`" from a console after resume :().
To be clear, I've used GNOME for a long time, as have some of my family. I really appreciate what's been given to me. Thanks.