This comic from www.xkcd.com got me thinking:
Computer technology has both advanced at an impressive rate in the last 14 years and stagnated. I have recently purchased a new laptop. By all objective measures of computer performance, it is a vastly superior machine than the last one I had, and has the equivalent computing power of literally hundreds of the type of computer I owned in 1996.
Yet, somehow, it can't really do more, it just does better. What could I do with a computer in 1996? Play games, word processing, access the internet. These are the same functions I perform with my new, much better computer.
I actually think that we are on the verge of an actual technological breakthrough in how computers function. The ipad flirts around the edges of an actual breakthrough in what a computer does, not just how it does it. In my opinion it is clearly monitor technology, not computing power, that is the major hurdle to overcome. When my entire desk surface is a touch-screen monitor for a centralized computer, that I can also access from my fold-up pad, we might actually see a transition to something different.