I submit that before too long, mice will be a thing of the past. Keyboards, too. With technology like MicrosoftÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Surface and AppleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s iPhone, these devices are getting replaced by our own fingers. Personally, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m rather excited.
With what has been demonstrated so far, multitouch technology seems to be far superior to traditional methods of controlling a computer. Or at least I think it could be one day. I can zoom on photos with a pinch of my fingers, type directly on screen, split a check in a restaurant or even play piano, all without any extra equipment. So where will this lead?
Without the necessity of extra peripherals, we eliminate the need for cables and cords. Computers will become even more wireless. And when things are wireless, we can
take them wherever we want. And so, we will, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll become more connected than everÃ¢â‚¬â€constantly plugged in (thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a metaphorical plug, of course). Although some individuals,
like Jen, enjoy a Ã¢â‚¬Å“technology hiatusÃ¢â‚¬Â from time to time, I am rather excited for the interconnectivity (back to my addiction perhaps...)
You're dead on, August. After seeing the Jeff Han video of his presentation at TED, I started feverishly imagining a world where I didn't have to sit at a computer, but could instead stand facing it, or slightly above it, and working with ideas using only my hands. I blogged about this, postulating how our solutions to problems would be different if we fully exploited the part of our brains that thinks in space, time and shapes (visual metaphors) instead of words.
For readers who missed Mr. Han's demonstration, google "jeff han ted" and enjoy the first seven minute of a new way of looking at work and the world!
I agree that one day we could be interacting with a very different kind of keyboard and mouse. I don't agree that we will do away with the essential nature of the keyboard/mouse combination altogether, though.
A lot of us have bought into the usability of a pinch-screen for our leisure or even mobile business time, but think about the functionality in a 9-to-5 workplace. Most people sit down to do their work, arms bent at the elbows and typing just as I'm doing now. Sure, the keyboard and mouse can become more streamlined, but I'm sure that we will not entirely overcome the need for something we've been using since before PCs. We might've seen the typewriter die, but the advent of computers didn't negate our need for keyboards and sit-at-your-desk-and-work functionality. Call me old school, but the keyboard and mouse will remain essential peripherals because they fit with what we do for the majority of our weekdays: work.
The mouse might go, but it won't be until we have a way to plug our brains directly into a computer that we'll get rid of the keyboard. As far as I know, there's no other way to get original text into a computer. Even the Han video showed him bringing up a keyboard on his touch screen interface.