The End of History (of Computers)

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by BluAffiliate, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. BluAffiliate macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    The title of my thread comes from Francis Fukuyama's famous political science theory that I studied extensively in college. Essentially the theory goes as follows: Once humanity eventually discovered that Democracy is the best system for government, there really wouldn't be a "next step". This would signal the end of human social evolution, and an end to time and history itself. Anything after will become marginalized, irrelevant, and not worthy to even look forward to.

    As you can probably imagine, I am applying Fukuyama's theory to computers in general. Have we finally reached this point?

    I looked back and noticed that computers, and namely laptops, have recently seemed to have hit a brick wall in development. The last real innovation I can point to is the SSD hard drive. And I really can't think of anything else in the horizon that's really going to be a game changer as far as laptop computers/MBP line is concerned.

    This is a kind of bittersweet observation, just as Fukuyama noted with his theory in world politics. While yes, we're technically reached the optimum level of advancement.. but this means there's nothing more to look forward to.

    The fact that Apple hasn't made any solid advancements in the MBP line besides the customary processor upgrade every year speaks volumes about how the theory is true.

    Goodnight sweet prince, it was a valiant effort. Should we weep or should we rejoice?
  2. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2011
    you see entire eras where things don't change much at all (just look at the Automotive industry).

    Maybe the electronics industry is finally starting to slow down their innovations.
  3. Comeagain? macrumors 68020


    Feb 17, 2011
    Spokane, WA
    There is no end to development while the public is demanding more.
  4. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    Neither? What is it you are looking for? My MBP there isn't really anything I need computers to do that they don't actually do. A performance boost is welcome but what else is there to be had? I'm sure somebody (usually Apple) will come along with a revolutionary and (questionably) useful feature and then convince you that you need it but until then...
  5. malman89 macrumors 68000

    May 29, 2011
  6. BluAffiliate thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    What more can there be?

    The only thing I'm really seeing suggested is: bigger screens, faster processors, cooler looking chassi. I mean, these are great and all but are merely "incremental" upgrades and not new ideas.
  7. heisenberg123 macrumors 603


    Oct 31, 2010
    Hamilton, Ontario

    im confussed what you are looking to hear? are you hoping someone posts the "next best thing" a PC or laptop could possible do?

    if anyone had such an idea they would be better off keeping it to them selves and be the first to develop such and idea
  8. phyrexia macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2010
    Hardware revolution may be coming to a close, but that will only give software engineers a chance to catch up. Software will be the next revolution.

    As far as laptops go, I would call it the perfecting of a device rather than the stagnation of it. Ultimately, everybody wants light weight, power, longevity. We are approaching in some ways the pinnacle of power and weight.
  9. ethics101 macrumors regular

    Apr 16, 2011
    Laptops need to reach MAC pro desktop power before this is even a thought.


    Projection computers are the future
  10. TheJing, Dec 6, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011

    TheJing macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2011
    Somewhere in Europe
    Technology will still evolve.

    If you are talking only about the form factor, laptops nowadays look pretty similar to the first ones made in the 1980's. Yes, I know, there is a big difference in design but essentially they are the same. A 17" HP from 2011 isn't that much smaller and lighter than the first laptops that ever existed. If I was to follow your logic, I would have to say that laptops have never evolved in the first place.

    Since laptops haven' really changed much form wise, you have to look at it from another point of view. The performance increase is incredible and still is. The least powerful laptop in 20 years will be much more powerful than the 17" Pro is today. Technology will keep evolving and tomorrow everything that you need to fit inside a laptop will be much much smaller therefore you can put more performance in a similar body.

    Sorry if that was hard to understand English is my 3rd language and I'm kinda struggling when it comes to explaining my thoughts.
  11. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    optical/quantum CPU's have been in development for at least a decade and promise a HUGE increase in performance
  12. BluAffiliate thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2010
    No, my argument is that there isn't going to be a new hardware breakthrough. There isn't anything logical that would make sense to upgrade. The only thing I can think of is some kind of holographic, 3d projected stuff but I can't really imagine that being more intuitive or better than traditional lap tops or touch screen handheld devices.
  13. ET3SW macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2011
    Houston, TX
    I think this is just another way to ask the same question. "When is Ivy Bridge coming out?"
  14. Titanium81 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 23, 2011
    Until Apple releases their next MBP line up. Then it will be Magical and Revolutionary all over again. :)
  15. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    We're not at the end yet. Someday, maybe, but not yet.

    The fact that none of us can imagine a possible next step just reflects the fact that we are not working in the creative design offices of apple, or whoever else comes up with the next revolution.
  16. TheHellfish macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2011
    All innovations are evolution of the original when it comes to computers. The computer was the innovative idea. After that it was accessorizing and upgrading.

    You list SSD as an innovation. We already had storage, and various versions of it. The HMI has evolved as well, with both hardware and software. What is happening is better, faster, more efficient ways to do the same things we've been able to do. It is still progression, still advancement. Your originating philosophy is flawed because it makes the assumption that society settles. We do not. We always want more and try to achieve it.
  17. nick9191, Dec 6, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 29, 2012

    nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    In terms of hardware, at least consumer hardware, sort of.

    In the sense that the speed of the computer is irrelevant for most of the general public. You can buy this computer, that's 10x more powerful than you need, or this one, that's 20x more powerful than you need.

    I class myself and most members of this forum within that group. I browse the web, I use your usual trivial apps, I do some programming, nothing more or less intensive than the general population, all from a 1.4Ghz Core 2 Duo 11" Air. Which is plenty fast. Most people overestimate their needs and end up with some behemoth of a machine that is never used to its full potential.

    It all began really when hardware began to outpace software around 2005/6 when dual core chips really became mainstream. We have these multiple core systems and the software we run on them can't even BEGIN to make use of the cores efficiently.

    Until July 2011, Windows XP was still the most popular operating system in the world. This decade old archaic OS that can't even begin to make use of more than one core. Fair enough, new machines were shipping with Windows 7, but from late 2009 when it was released. Until 2009 all corporations were still getting their new machines with XP, a good size of the home market was downgrading to XP, most OEM's still offered their machines with XP. My point is that, the software we run now, even modern versions of Windows and OS X, can't make use of this hardware.

    I'm fully in favour of hardware regression. Reducing the power consumption, the heat, making a much more efficient low power product and optimising software. All that's happened is software vendors get lazy, operating system vendors sure as hell get lazy (Vista). Long gone are the days of software developers sitting for weeks trying to optimise their software to run within the few kilobytes of RAM available to them. With abundant amounts of resources, what does it matter?

    Then of course comes the post-PC era. Which re-emphasises the point that hardware speed is the most trivial point of the entire product. What's the most popular tablet? The iPad. What's the tablet with the fastest CPU and the most RAM? Probably not the iPad. Chuck as many cores as you want in, people don't want tablets, they want iPads. Or people comparing specs of their smartphones, or god forbid, actually PICKING a smartphone over those specs when it's clear to anyone with an IQ higher than the amount of fingers they possess that the hardware means NOTHING in these devices.

    Software is the most important part of the package nowadays, whatever it runs on is trivial at best for 90% of the population.
  18. aCondor macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2010
    United States
    You're absolutely right. In 50 years computer will be exactly the same. I mean, look at laptops ten years ago! They are the exact same as laptops now! Advancement has stopped! The Mayans were right, 2012 is truly the end.

    (This post is peppered with extreme notes of sarcasm)
  19. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    Oh, just a few things:

    organic LEDs

    cloud storage, probably cloud computing is next, i.e. putting intensive tasks on remote servers, like what Apple does with Siri already

    integrated GPUs that are competitive with dedicated GPUs (probably 2 years away)

    And that's only the stuff that's already announced. With the oLEDs, I'm not yet sure how transparent and flexible screens would benefit laptops.
  20. philio32383 macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2011
    I think the end of computers as we know them today is about 20-30 years out, maybe a little longer, just like it took to long for the floppy drive to vanish.

    My thought of what the "next" computer will look like. It's a watch! No joke! it is a 3D computer/phone/vital monitor. Needs to be a watch (with current tech) so that there is three different cameras projecting to a space about 4-12" above the main face. But then there is no keyboard??? lol, there will be no more remotes in the next ten years why??? voice activation! your TV will have a name, you can just say "Sam I want to watch the final episode of MASH after tonights teen idol." You will be able to orate a paper, and from the content it will find web info in regards to the paper you are writing. forget sitting at the desk, you could write that memo on the train ride to work, and send it 5g to your employees, which they will get a message on their violet-wave ear piece. and they could listen to the audio, or read the text.

    Dick tracy was not far off with the phone watch. In china they already have this, and it is also a 3MP camera... but you say there is no mouse, no problem. The "next" computer will be able to "read your thoughts." It doesn't really. It follows your eyes and reads the muscle contraction to determine where you are focusing your attention. This could be a contact lens computer you place in one eye.

    Vital monitor... really??? yeah, heart rate, activity log, food intake, blood sugar sampler. All information that will be able to help your doctor determine what you need to do to be healthy. and in the unfortunate case of a irregular heartbeat, or pre-cursors to a heart attack it will call 9-1-1 or the current countries emergency number and tell them your GPS location in their language. Applies to all but still developing countries that do not have the "old school" computers to process the information sent.

    You want more??? read Sci fi. Look at the "tri-quarter" from star trek. In a lot of ways an iPhone can function as a "tri-quarter" through extra sensors.
  21. psykick5 macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2011
  22. johnhurley macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    So you studied a theory extensively eh? Graduate level Ph.D dissertation perhaps or maybe not so much?

    Apple is motivated by profit ... always have been to some extent for sure as is ever viable company.

    Apple believe it or not is not responsible for the cpu's inside the macbook pros or air. A decision they made a while back ... using industry standard stuff and yes for profitability.

    They are doing darn well on the profit side. Pirate well to some. Not so princely perhaps?

    Or maybe they have in hand already the photon torpedoes and the dilithium crystal warp drives and are just waiting for us to catch up with them?
  23. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    Next quantum leap: replace the data storage by another form of data storage that sits piggybacked onto the CPU. If memory serves me right Intel is only a year or two away from producing commercially this making the SSD obsolete.

    Also saw a post that by 2019 a computer will have as much power as the human brain, now that is getting scary. (George Orwell "Big Brother").
  24. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2011
    until quantum computing develops, it doesn't matter how much raw power computers will have. The human brain will still be more powerful in terms of seeing patterns, etc.
  25. Risasi macrumors 6502

    Sep 16, 2011
    I think we're really close on this one already. Not because everyone is going to be carrying around their own personal nuclear reactor (which would be kind of scary, kind of awesome), but because we're reaching the point where the devices are so efficient they can be powered off of us. Movement, solar, perhaps thermal (via body heat?).

    We might also not need screens. Why do you want to carry around some big honking 3.5" iphone screen if you have the ability to beam the image right into your retina? This presents new interface "problems" too. If I can merely think and my computer understands my intentions. Huge game changer...brings a whole new meaning to the term Personal Computer.

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