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The PC form factor: "Lots of legacy attached."

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I was reading an article the other day on ZDnet from write Arian Kingsley-Hughes, pertaining to the "post-PC" PC in 2025. In it he gives his predictions on what the "desktop" will look like in that year. Before he gets to his prediction, he makes a remark on the current state of affairs, calling the desktop largely "legacy". He writes:

 

"The problem as I see it isn't that people haven't fallen out of love with the PC, but instead they've fallen out of love with the PC form factor. While most users haven't figured it out yet, the fragmentation - of data, user interface, and user experience - that shifting out attention between desktops, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones has caused the primary reason why people are turning their backs on the PC.

 

The PC is a device that comes with decades of legacy attached, ranging from the way it looks and works, to the way we interact with it."

 

I couldn't agree with this statement more. The desktop and the OS it runs is nearly 20 years old, and has remained relatively the same. What has changed is our work habits, however, and further escalating the legacy status of the PC is the uptick in mobility, creating quite a disconnect with users when their mobile workflow is destroyed as soon as they sit down at a PC.

Users, especially younger users, are learning to use tablets and smartphones, like we learned to use desktop systems when we were their age. They no longer line up to travel to the computer lab, and click open a word processor. They're handed a tablet in the classroom, and are give access to a wide range of dynamic and interactive educational applications. These devices form the center of their digital lives like Packard Bell, and AOL formed the center of ours. These users are expecting the desktop to work the same, and are upset when they find out it doesn't.

I could go on, but you get the gist of what is being said here. So here's the question: Do you agree? Is the desktop as we know it, a legacy device? Can this image be reversed? Or is the desktop as we know it doomed to collapse as younger users grow older, and bring their habits into the world?

Source: www.zdnet.com/what-the-post-pc-pc-of-2025-will-be-like-7000026459/

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Hello,

The same has been said about the mouse and keyboard. There are things that will never die.

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The keyboard will never die, but the mouse - I wouldn't be so sure. Take a look at it, it dates back to the early 80's, and it precursors date back to the late 1940s. It is a device that was created for earlier generations of computing, and is quickly becoming cumbersome to use, as users are working with large quantities of data. Your multimonitor work station is held back by the fact that your cursor can only be in one spot at any given time. As a plotter, it works great, but working with data, it quickly becomes cumbersome.

Just put it this way, I'm away for this weekend, and I haven't once used use a mouse while doing my work.

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I hate touch based keyboards screens. too many mistakes by accidentally bumping letters.

 

 

I can even say I can see future space crafts flying around space still using keyboards for screens.

 

 

tablet are good for doing things on the fly. but when it comes to hard work and less errors. you need that legacy stuff 

 

 

oh cant do multimonitor workstation with tablets.

 

 

and I havent found a tablet that can keep up with my multitasking.

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I hate touch based keyboards screens. too many mistakes by accidentally bumping letters.

 

 

I can even say I can see future space crafts flying around space still using keyboards for screens.

 

 

tablet are good for doing things on the fly. but when it comes to hard work and less errors. you need that legacy stuff 

 

 

oh cant do multimonitor workstation with tablets.

 

 

and I havent found a tablet that can keep up with my multitasking.

Multi-monitor is a niche usage - even with desktop formfactors.  The cost is decreasing; however, for reasons outside of the cost of the displays themselves, it will never become the default.

While multitasking is increasing, how many applications (not OSes) really are designed for use in a multitasking environment, let alone a multitask-designed OS?  Not only are most games designed to be either the primary task, if not the only task, that is running (I'm referring to Windows games), the same is STILL true of most applications.  While even Office applications have gotten better, even they still have a way to go.

 

Even more telling is that most USERS are still thinking in terms of One Major Application - typically used in isolation (it is the only application running) - pish and tosh on background applications.

 

As far as desktop-formfactor users go, despite Vista, and even despite 7, how users actually use their hardware and applications is still largely in the XP mindset - and that is despite how poorly XP supported multitasking, compared even to Vista, let alone 7.

 

You can have 8 GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7-4770K - however, if your usage is more like someone with an Intel Core 2 E6300 with 2 GB of RAM, then you plain and simply are underutilizing your hardware.

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if it wasnt for desktops. there would not be tablets. 

 

 

just saying from a developer stand point.

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I hate touch based keyboards screens. too many mistakes by accidentally bumping letters.

I can even say I can see future space crafts flying around space still using keyboards for screens.

tablet are good for doing things on the fly. but when it comes to hard work and less errors. you need that legacy stuff

oh cant do multimonitor workstation with tablets.

and I havent found a tablet that can keep up with my multitasking.

This isn't about touch vs non touch, this is more about more about blended workflows, in the article, the author explains that he sees mobile devices driving future desktop systems - they merely become docks for them.

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This isn't about touch vs non touch, this is more about more about blended workflows, in the article, the author explains that he sees mobile devices driving future desktop systems - they merely become docks for them.

 

That doesn't really change the legacy aspects of the desktop. You may or may not use a monitor in this case, but if you're docking you're doing it for a reason. That reason is because you want to have the precision for work that can only be achieved with a mouse and keyboard. It seems telling though, if users are docking their tablets to use as a desktop then more likely than not Windows is the OS on that tablet. 

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The "precision" of the mouse is a lie. Many desktop operations can be switched with quick gestures, making many buttons that need pressed obsolete. Unless you're plotting points, that precision isn't really needed in day to day operations.

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I would say I need plotting precision on a daily basis. In photoshop, gaming, etc...

 

I agree that the mouse will be used less and less for daily use, but I don't think it will ever go away completely. At least not in the current state of desktop operating systems.

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The "precision" of the mouse is a lie. Many desktop operations can be switched with quick gestures, making many buttons that need pressed obsolete. Unless you're plotting points, that precision isn't really needed in day to day operations.

Ok, so how would gaming work in this new world?  Picture a desktop PC with dual touchscreen displays, a keyboard for text input but no mouse.  How do you aim in an FPS for example?  dragging your finger across a screen for gaming on a desktop just seems impractical to me.  The mouse, just like the keyboard, will have its uses for quite some time yet.

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The keyboard will never die, but the mouse - I wouldn't be so sure. Take a look at it, it dates back to the early 80's, and it precursors date back to the late 1940s. It is a device that was created for earlier generations of computing, and is quickly becoming cumbersome to use, as users are working with large quantities of data. Your multimonitor work station is held back by the fact that your cursor can only be in one spot at any given time. As a plotter, it works great, but working with data, it quickly becomes cumbersome.

Just put it this way, I'm away for this weekend, and I haven't once used use a mouse while doing my work.

 

I use gestures a lot on my MB Pro. Haven't touched a mouse since I got it. I use a few KB shortcuts but I can see a future where voice commands would be dominate as well as hand gestures of some sort. We can already see it's primitive use in games as it is like the kinect.

My 4 yr old step granddaughter literally amazes me to watch her work with tablets and such, it's almost like she instinctively knows how to do some things I would figure are somewhat complicated that many adults can't seem to adjust to....by that I mean some of these UI's like Windows 8. She could pick up W8 and power it off within the OS without me saying anything and yet I had to sit there and figure it out and most people had to ask where the heck is the power menu? lol

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Ok, so how would gaming work in this new world?  Picture a desktop PC with dual touchscreen displays, a keyboard for text input but no mouse.  How do you aim in an FPS for example?  dragging your finger across a screen for gaming on a desktop just seems impractical to me.  The mouse, just like the keyboard, will have its uses for quite some time yet.

 

Some type of optical device, I would imagine. Your eye movement would aim your gun.

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There will always be a niche market for desktop, keyboard, and mouse because of the performance and precision provided, however, performance in desktops may be matched to performance in mobile form factors in the future, even then, there will still be an even smaller market that enjoys the precision of the mouse and keyboard.

 

But even more into the future, the mouse and keyboard could be replaced by eye tracking, speech recognition, and mind input.

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Any real or serious work, and gaming will always be better off with a keyboard and mouse, that's not going to change any time soon

 

And gestures cannot replace the real accuracy of a mouse in many situations, maybe fine for youtube and facebook, but anything else the mouse is still the more accurate option, there's a reason we still have them despite many attempts at replacing them, the alternatives are no where close to replacing them 

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The mouse (and touch) will disappear once we'll be able to control input with the brain at an affordable price.

 

There will always be a niche market for desktop, keyboard, and mouse because of the performance and precision provided, however, performance in desktops may be matched to performance in mobile form factors in the future, even then, there will still be an even smaller market that enjoys the precision of the mouse and keyboard.

 

But even more into the future, the mouse and keyboard could be replaced by eye tracking, speech recognition, and mind input.

This will never happen because one can always fit more powerful hardware in a bigger box. Just because mobile will get better, that doesn't mean desktops or servers will not evolve as well.

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I thought we had this discussion a while ago and we determined the desktop (and m&k) weren't going anywhere for a long time.

 

I can't see myself ever using a touch screen monitor. Having to hold my arm up and pointing at a warm screen for hours on end..that doesn't sound like the future to me.

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Just put it this way, I'm away for this weekend, and I haven't once used use a mouse while doing my work.

 

You could have used a mouse to right click and correct the grammatical error in your statement.

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Some type of optical device, I would imagine. Your eye movement would aim your gun.

Granted that would be better than having to touch the screen but that would feel extremely disconnected as that's not how aiming is done in real life.  In real life there is a lot of feedback from your extremities in the aiming process which is why a mouse feels somewhat natural for this, but granted it isn't anywhere near perfect.

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Ok, so how would gaming work in this new world?  Picture a desktop PC with dual touchscreen displays, a keyboard for text input but no mouse.  How do you aim in an FPS for example?  dragging your finger across a screen for gaming on a desktop just seems impractical to me.  The mouse, just like the keyboard, will have its uses for quite some time yet.

World of Warcraft just spins the camera round and round when I use the touch screen. :laugh:

 

There's a lot of great things you can do with a touch screen, I use it every day at work. Then again, half the time I'm browsing websites looking up products. If I were working in Excel or something to that effect, I most likely wouldn't use touch for fear of the touch going wonky. I mean, hell, my Surface's touch capabilities just randomly stopped working yesterday. Had to reboot the device to get it functioning again...

 

This also isn't the first I see of these issues either, in between what gets returned or even our display models (Toshiba Satellite) that's lost the touch capability, even after rebooting and trying a few tricks. How can I rely on something that can go haywire so easily? :/

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Ok, so how would gaming work in this new world? Picture a desktop PC with dual touchscreen displays, a keyboard for text input but no mouse. How do you aim in an FPS for example? dragging your finger across a screen for gaming on a desktop just seems impractical to me. The mouse, just like the keyboard, will have its uses for quite some time yet.

Gaming isn't a day to day operation. Obviously, that still needs a mouse, however I fully expect specialized wireless controllers such as you find on consoles to take over.

You could have used a mouse to right click and correct the grammatical error in your statement.

That doesn't require a mouse to do.

I thought we had this discussion a while ago and we determined the desktop (and m&k) weren't going anywhere for a long time.

I can't see myself ever using a touch screen monitor. Having to hold my arm up and pointing at a warm screen for hours on end..that doesn't sound like the future to me.

The mouse and keyboard aren't bound together. You *can* run a physical keyboard without a mouse. I use that setup on my Surface daily.

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For me, touch interfaces don't work for any situation where I have to sit down at a desk and hold my arm out to use them. They work just fine for tablets and phones (anything you can hold), but I'm not going to do anything I do for work on a device like that. When I sit down at a desk, I want the precision (whether I'm selecting text, debugging, designing a UI or using Photoshop/Illustrator) that a mouse provides.

 

It's nothing to do with legacy, it to do with what's right for the job.

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Soon enough the only PC functionality that won't be available to most tablets is the desk and chair.

 

Because they're PCs.  They just haven't all had proper extensibility.

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I use Photshop and Illustrator on daily basis, and for a very long time I thought that mouse and keyboard combo is the only method that offers enough speed, precision and especially comfort, since I spend a lot of time working and I wasn't sure about the ergonomics of touching my 24" screen and holding my hands in front of me for several hours instead of letting them rest on the table.

 

But then I read a few posts by Dot Matrix and he convinced me to give touch input a shot, and now I see the error of my ways, touch is the way to go and mouse and keyboards are soon to be extinct.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I use Photshop and Illustrator on daily basis, and for a very long time I thought that mouse and keyboard combo is the only method that offers enough speed, precision and especially comfort, since I spend a lot of time working and I wasn't sure about the ergonomics of touching my 24" screen and holding my hands in front of me for several hours instead of letting them rest on the table.

 

But then I read a few posts by Dot Matrix and he convinced me to give touch input a shot, and now I see the error of my ways, touch is the way to go and mouse and keyboards are soon to be extinct.

 

 

The Cintiq desktops are rather popular for graphic artists...

 

http://www.wacom.com/en/us/creative/cintiq-24-hd

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