> the difficult of writing core graphics methods for every bevel, rounded corner, gradient etc has a lot of developers just using cut images for everything.
On iOS, the QuartzCore framework provides declarative methods for those common style choices (rounded corners, gradients, etc.).
Not only that but it's usable today. Both webkit and gecko have very close implementations with only minor edge cases, none of which are insurmountable.
Not sure about iOS support for the new layout modes.
Browsers, in fact, already use the shadow DOM to render many of their custom forms. It's just not available programmatically yet.
Layouts aren't completely horrifying if you use a good, responsive grid, although within that grid framework itself there are likely some hacks. But as mentioned -- new CSS layout types are coming!