The Future of the Computer. Be it Mac or PC.

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by SiliconAddict, Dec 13, 2003.

  1. SiliconAddict macrumors 603

    SiliconAddict

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    #1
    This isn’t intended to be an Apple vs. PC question but more of an overall question on the progression and advancement of computer hardware. It’s a forgone conclusion that computers have changed drastically since the days of the Apple ][ but upon studying for my A+ certs it really has dawned on me that for all the advancement in computers the basic method of HOW computers work is still basically the same. RAM, CPU, various buses, hard drive, graphics card, etc. All using the same basic method of communicating with the various devices that was used oh so long ago.

    My question pertains to where we are going with technology. Sure we are getting faster and smaller but does anyone think we are going to start pushing the boundaries of what computer hardware is. Things like organic memory. Quantum computing. Moving away from the hard drive (The last great moving part, other then the DVD drive, to still be used in computers.) to other forms of storage.
    But on a more fundamental level what about the method the computer talks in? Electricity and binary. Both are staples of the computer since day one. What other mediums will we be using in the future? Light as a transport medium? Its been talked about but other then some very crude demos of such tech nothing has been done on this front.

    I guess my question boils down to: Do you see the computer industry as a whole stuck in the rut of using the same tech its used for decades or do you feel we are truly on the cusp of a revolution in computer technology?

    This part is more Apple specific. I look at Apple and see tremendous potential in the future. Because unlike most hardware companies who really have 2 choices.
    A. Follow Microsoft’s lead in technologies.
    B. Create a proprietary method that hacks an OS to make something work.

    Apple is in a unique position to control both the hardware and software aspects of their future. This gives apple massive leeway in the way it steers its hardware development with the only real roadblocks being backwards compatibility with older Macs and obvious price hurtles when it comes to implementing new ideas/technologies. (Something even Apple doesn’t do that frequently.) Other then that Apple is free to do what it want, how it want.

    So where do you see the Mac and the PC heading in the future? Thoughts? Ideas?

    Just curious on others feeling and ideas on where this industry is heading. :)
     
  2. ChrisH3677 macrumors 6502a

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    Victoria, Australia
    #2
    I see a client/server future. (it could be 20 years away til it's entrenched tho. As far as principles go, the computer world changes slower than you think.)

    Applications will be served over the internet (the ASP model) and you will subscribe to them. You will not know or care what OS is on you computer. In fact it will be very minimal as it will be as it will only feed screen activity back and forth to your dumb terminal

    This means I see an little future for desktop MS Windows, OSX and Linux.

    Windows Terminal Server (or similar from Apple and Linux) is where the long term lies for OSes

    As long as there's been computers there's been competing OSes. The future will be the same. The difference though is that any terminal will display any OS (again because it just screen feeds)

    So you might subscribe to Apple's Final Cut Express and Microsoft's Office and Linux's GIMP, each running in their own OS but all interacting (just like VPC can cut and paste etc with OSX now)

    So I think they'll all still exist, but their the OS side of their businesses will be small change.

    This is one reason it's good to see Apple getting into services (the ITMS). I know they make little money out of it, but they still make money. And if you've noticed the rate at which the other big players have tried to get their slice of the pie, you'll know how important services are.

    .Mac is another example. It's a semi-ASP model, it just doesn't provided the apps yet (but it will one day)

    Apple are smart. They understand the future. Well, Steve Jobs does anyway. That's how they've suceeded.

    MS aren't smart in the same sense. But they've been smart enough to know bullying etc can work. That's how they've succeeded.

    what do you think?
     
  3. yamabushi macrumors 65816

    yamabushi

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    Oct 6, 2003
    #3
    Overall I foresee the evolution of current technology continuing. I think many radical changes will remain experimental curiousities for some time to come.

    I see the reliablity of chips getting to be a serious problem as we continue with process shrinks. Going below 40nm is going to be a serious challenge that may take much more time and resources than previous shrinks. I think we will stall at 40nm for some time which will encourage the use of more specialized and parallel chips on the motherboard. Motherboards in 2015 might have three times as many chips as we have today or more. Then the limit of space for traces on the motherboard will become a problem which will result in more chips being offloaded into daughtercards and expansion cards.

    Various froms of RAID will become commonplace in consumer desktops. Hard drives will continue to be a bottleneck as alternatives to standard magnetic storage continue to stay in development.

    Computing power and software complexity will reach the point soon where advanced AI will be able to communicate directly and reliably with natural interrogative language. This will be too expensive at first for most people to use at home but simpler special purpose applications will be available. Dumber devices will contact more intelligent ones via various networks in order to comply with your requests for information. Computer systems will become more autonomous for enterprise applications which will force more shifts in the labor force.
     
  4. ChrisH3677 macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Furthermore, Apple being in the computer making business will also be good for their future.

    Like, if it didn't matter what hardware you had, wouldn't you always buy the one that looked best (to you)?
     
  5. XnavxeMiyyep macrumors 65816

    XnavxeMiyyep

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    #5
    The GUI replaced the Terminal for good reasons, and I doubt the entire computing industry would ever switch back to using the Terminal as a primary OS method. Personally, I would hate having all Applications online. What if you were to get disconnected, or if you were on an airplane?

    Actually, I don't think much will change in the near future, except making large amounts of memory faster, therefor being able to efficiently use Hard Drives as RAM.
     
  6. kuyu macrumors 6502a

    kuyu

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    Location:
    Louisville
    #6
    I can see a new interactivity paragdigm. Instead of using an x-y mouse on an x-y screen, I could see glasses used instead.

    Rather than just a screen 1 inch from the eye, motion sensors will be used that understand head movement. Thus, the "screen" goes 360 degrees in every direction. If you turn your head to the left, you see whatever is digitally left of you. Thus, massive amounts of data can be fed in and interpreted quickly.

    Also, the keyboard is doomed. Voice is the best way to control a machine, but we still lack the tech. Imagine strapping on a pair of glasses (the size of normal eye glasses today) with oled film imbedded in the glass. Say aloud "show me TV's." Within seconds a litany of TV's appers in the room (think the vehix commercial) Then by reaching, grabbing, and voice you could manipulate things in the digital realm.

    Backgrounds could be fully 3d, or you could choose not to have a background, and simply see the digital's laid over your normal vision.

    While driving, digital arrows could point the way, kind of like in video games. This would be far better than ichat, as a rendered version of all your friends could "appear" in the room with you.

    Sorry this post is so long.
     
  7. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

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    London, UK
    #7
    I think some of these ideas will likely be further away than most people think.

    In the last 25 years or so, nothing has really changed in the computing industry, other than the mass acceptance of systems and the internet. The real potential of the internet as a medium for communicatoin is still in its infancy and has not been realised yet. Computers have got bigger and faster and more powerful but what we do on them has changed very litttle. For example, writing a letter using Word is no different now than it was 10-15 years ago.

    As for the glasses and voice thing, that was tried in the past (virtual reality), which flopped completely.
     
  8. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

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    Dress Rosa
    #8
    lol, virtual reality was tried my friend, and failed. It wasn't very popular with the consumers I think. Anyway, What's stopping flash-drives to hold more space other than Price? Flash drives might replace primary hard-drives if the prices come down and they get larger. I could see Apple making computers and selling the OS on a sort of compact-flash or smart media card that gets inserted into your computer for your OS that would hold like your Home directory on a Hard-drive. But I think in the long run organic might be the only way to go since the materials might become cheaper than flash memory eventually. Then when people called the IT and said that their computer died, they could be right.
     
  9. dgdosen macrumors 65816

    dgdosen

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    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #9
    I think the future will have a variety.

    There's no reason why you can't have a home server running MS, An Apple client in the kitchen, and some Linux (like Tivo) device or an XBox/PS2 on the TV, all sharing data in some way.

    I'd think that given interoperability, they'd all happily coexist. I'm a PC person, but I just bought an iBook and leave it on the coffee table. It's quiet, resumes from sleep in a snap, looks cool, and meets my needs for a PC I'd have in the living room, including connecting to my gigabytes of ripped cds.

    Apple has some 5% of market share right now, I don't see any reason why that number wouldn't go up as homes start having multiple connected devices.... Everybody can use a Mac!
     
  10. MacFan26 macrumors 65816

    MacFan26

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    #10

    This reminds me of the device they had in the movie (or book) Disclosure, anyone remember that? Basically a virtual database where you could search all your files, video clips etc. by walking around on a platform with special glasses. I think the question is more of even though this is cool, is it really that useful? Is this type of change actually beneficial?
     
  11. ChrisH3677 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Two things...

    1) A terminal is a client on a network. There's no rule that says it has to be text based. Dumb terminals of the future will have a GUI interface.

    2) You won't ever get disconnected. Does your TV stations ever get disconnected? Or your radio stations? It is very very rare.

    This highlights though what I said about principles changing slowly - because people are afraid of change. And as JohnnyJibbs also said, computers have changed little in the last 25 years.

    This is so true. If Jobs and Wozniak had the technology, they would have invented the flat panel iMac in 77. Everything was still the same - input devices, storage, cpu and visual display unit.

    The only real change in the last 25 years was the move from client/server to personal computing. Ironically, the increased speed of communications (which lead to the success of the internet) will bring a return to the client/server model.

    But because people resist change usually because they are afraid of the "What ifs?" as proved by XnavxeMiyyep who says "What if i get disconnected? What if I'm on an airplane?"

    These and a multitude of other "What ifs?" will be addressed and solved. But as I originally said, it could take 20 years.
     
  12. kuyu macrumors 6502a

    kuyu

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    Louisville
    #12
    I know that VR had a shot back in the day, but we were still using 4mb graphics chips then (at most). What I'm talking about is more suited for >10gb graphics chips.

    I meant the idea as something to look for in about 30-40 years. The hardware keeps getting faster. Eventually the software and interfaces will have to keep up.

    The days of VR didn't use transparent oled's, but rather tiny lcd's, which is not useful. Organic Light Emiting Diodes could allow these "glasses" to be worn everywhere. Say bye-bye to the laptop, as this tech would make it obselete.
     
  13. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a

    manitoubalck

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    #13
    I doubt that since good typers can type faster than they can talk. also how loud would the office become.
     
  14. dukemeiser macrumors 6502a

    dukemeiser

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    #14
    It depends on when the new technologies emerge as dependable products. I suppose we will eventually reach physical limitations (how much data can you cram on a hard drive?). I do think that when these new components are usable, Apple will be the first to use them.
     
  15. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #15
    Not only that, but how often do you talk, on the phone or to other people, when you use your computer. Replacing the hands w/the vocie box for typical computer interfacing would be a huge cutback in productivity. Not to mention huge privacy issues.


    Lethal
     
  16. ChrisH3677 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    A few years ago when i had crack at cartooning, these were a couple of toons i did on the subject of voice operated PCs...
     

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  17. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    iowa
    #17
    first off, i think we're going to see perceptive environments... computers shift from being their own thing, to being integrated into our lives more and more. your house will change everything from temperature to lighting to music to suit your needs, all of the time. it'll get more automated until we take it for granted, and then when technology allows, we'll see neural interfaces. computers that interact directly with the brain... it's already a reality in some ways. that will be the next revolution, and i think predicting what happens after that would be like trying to predict the computer itself in 1975. who knows what we'll see... a big threat, to be sure, but computers themselves were always a focus of apocryphal naysayers in the past. after we tie into computers directly, we'll start reaching the limits of our own brains, and that will be a turning point-- i think beyond that, computers will decline as we learn as a society to live without them. in about 200 years, we'll have a good balance of useful technology and regular humanity.

    pnw
     
  18. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #18

    Or we'll turn into the Borg. :D


    Lethal
     
  19. benixau macrumors 65816

    benixau

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    #19
    resistance is futile
     
  20. manitoubalck macrumors 6502a

    manitoubalck

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    #20
    Did someone say Darth Vader
     
  21. Den-Chan macrumors newbie

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    Bay Area
    #21
    Where I see the computer going is..

    The computer will turn on and boot up in the same amount of time it takes you to turn on the Television and enjoy your favorite show. Basically less then 5 seconds.

    The computers will be powerful enough to handle any OS even in emulation and you will never notice any lag in performance. So you can run 3 or more os's at once and jump between them like applications all day long with no problems.

    Also who knows there might be some little company out there right now working on a OS so different then what we use now that when they make their debut we waill go "dang why didn't anybody think of that a long time ago!!"

    For sure computers will take up even less desk space then they do now and be lighter of course. I still see the keyboard being there but also being able to talk to your computer for example..... "computer can you find that picture of the camping trip I minupulated yesterday and open it in photoshop for me while I finish my report. And also start scanning and cropping the 2 images I put on the scanner.".... All this will happen in the back ground while you do whatever your doing at that moment from chatting with friends and family to finishing up that last game with your online buddies.

    It will be a interesting future thats for sure.

    just my 2 cents
     
  22. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    Jul 9, 2000
    #22
    mac short term
    -move beyond osx
    -G5 in all machines, no more G4

    mac long term
    -smaller market share
    -more income from software titles

    pc short term
    -fewer comapnies dominating
    -even lower prices

    pc long term
    -same unfortunate reliance on microsoft windows
    -hard drive replaced by flash memory type unit...this also for macs

    ...and there will be some sectors in society where things will move slowly and some major businesses will still be using windows 98 and windows NT five years from now, and the us government will still have vacuum tube computers they cannot afford to get rid of even now because were built at high cost and rely on a large staff to maintain them...where i live one government agency still uses pre silicon computers for personnel records

    ...some computer languages like cobol and fortran will still have uses in some sectors five years from now

    ...and there will still be a need for some businesses to use floppys on their machines five years from now

    ...and certain financial institutions will continue to use carbon forms and need the use of dot matrix printers five years from now

    ...local and wide area networks will have little impact on homes five years from now and the stand alone pc will still dominate with the only major difference being the monitor, which will be flat panel instead of a crt in the majority of cases in the home and home office

    ...wireless technology will still not get off the ground as some will have wanted it to five years from now, but there will be modest, yet disappointing growth in that sector

    ...five years from now, tablet pcs will increase, but still not overtake standard laptops

    ...five years from now, software engineering and software development will be ported to the third world faster than any other job or industry in the developed countries, but hardware side techies will still need to be on site and this will remain a lucrative job in developed countries for the forseeable future

    ...and one hundred years from now, microsoft will hold their position as the leader in high tech and people will continue to hate them:p
     
  23. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #23
    on the other fronts in society, the us will still have the two party political system 100 years from now and this will hide a lot of corruption and back room dealings

    teen pregnancy will continue to plague us and some will try and still push for abstinence but get poor results

    handguns will still be a problem and the nra will continue to be a powerful washington lobby while innocent civilians are still victims

    but all will not be grim...

    racism will be greatly diminished since the usa would have already had a minority president by that time as well as a female president...other countries who have not followed suit, will eventually fall into line

    we will have a better, safer source of energy

    the world will have fewer violent conflicts, less overpopulation, and microbe related diseases will almost be a thing of the past but wi will be another 100 years or more beyond that before lifestyle diseases related to bad diet can be conquered and it won't be in the form of a fat burning pill, but in genetically engineered foods
     
  24. SiliconAddict thread starter macrumors 603

    SiliconAddict

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    #24
    We're all going to turn into James Earl Jones??!! :confused: :eek:
     
  25. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 27, 2003
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    PRK
    #25
    We will have cranial implants to access the computer...
    We will have optical computing where computer chips don't get hotter as they get faster... they get brighter and more radioactive. ;)
    We will have Virtual Paris... Virtual Brittney... and Virtual Pamela. :D
     

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