7 Predictions for the Future of Computers

October 9, 2010

What will your computing workspace look like in the future? You can bet that it will evolve over these 7 steps.

Some of these trends have started already. I prognosticated the rest using my genius. That or I made them up.

1. Everyone and his dog will use a laptop:

You demand mobility! Or your boss just wants you to work at home, too.

Laptops have outsold desktops in the United States since 2008. And in developing countries such as India, 1 of every 3 new computers sold is a laptop.

2. You will get a big monitor to connect to your laptop:

One Mac laptop connected to a Mac display

Laptops are portable. But when you sit down at your workspace, do you want to strain your eyes and back as you hunch over a dinky laptop screen? Hell no! You want to use a big, easy-to-read display.

3. You will get a big monitor to connect to your desktop:

one 27-inch Mac and one 30-inch Apple Cinema Display

A puny, under-powered laptop for your main workspace? “No way” you say! Maybe you’ll use a desktop instead.

Besides, you’ll store your files on a server rather than a hard drive, allowing you to access your files anywhere. So you’ll have a desktop with two displays.

4. You will get a second big monitor to connect to your laptop:

2 screens are better than 1, and 3 screens are better than 2…

… you’ll say to your wife as you try to justify buying another monitor. But no justification is necessary because your future monitor will cost the same price as her monthly manicure.

5. You will get 1 really big monitor to connect to your laptop:

Iain Foulds 15-inch MacBook Pro connected to a 30-inch Apple Cinema Display

Wait a second, didn’t I just say that 3 screens are better than 2? Not necessarily, mate. The future is high-resolution 30″ displays.

When the price of 30″ displays drops enough, you’ll get one 30″ display instead of two 24″ displays. That will save about 20″ of space on your desk.

For most of you, this will be computing nirvana. But power users with a fetish for pixels will yearn for more.

6. You will get 2 really big monitors to connect to your laptop:

Because of the high-resolution-per-inch of the 30″ display, this doctor was able to replace 5 monitors with 1 notebook and two 30″ displays.

Surely this is the final step in the workspace evolution. Who could possibly want more? Who could possibly afford more?

Well what if you’re trading stocks? Most traders use 3 or 4 displays (while frantically eating lunch at their desks):

A trader eats his lunch as he monitors his screens on the trading floor of IG Index in London May 6, 2010

What if you’re defending your country from incoming missiles? Judging by the photos, apparently this job is more laid back compared with day trading.

The guys at NORAD also get the job done with 3 or 4 displays each:

NORAD multi monitors

But what if price is no object? What will happen when the price of monitors decreases to the point where anyone can afford whatever they want? What will your workspace look like then?

Something like this, though you’d better be more tidy if you want to be elected President:

7. You will get whatever the hell you want:

Unlike Al Gore above, Bill Gates below won’t let us see what’s on his screens — maybe because he’s using iTunes.

Bill Gates office and multi-monitors from Wall Street Journal video in 2007

8. Bonus:

Do you need monitors this big? Looking at the demand for larger monitors, you’d think nothing got done before humans had giant screens, right?

Of course you don’t need them. But you don’t need a car beyond the economy class, either. I’m talking to you, Mr. Mercedes.

But it’s not about need. It’s about want. And when it comes to coveting big and beautiful monitors, just admit that this review reveals your secret desires.

What do you want your future computer to be like?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Roezer April 10, 2011 at 12:16 am

I am currently using a 19 inch monitor on an old but still functional Dell. I bought the monitor to use with my Acer laptop which is no longer working something happened to the VGA. So I bought this Desktop as I use my computer much for blogging and find that laptops seem to cause too many distractions as you move around too much watching the battery fans overheating and so on. I often find that I want to write something and need a reference to or will just double check something. To minimise the current window I am working in can lower productivity I was thinking of just buying a new monitor adaptor and a cheap used monitor. It is not the size of the screen but the fact that you have a place to put stuff on your desktop that you use often but do not need it distracting you all the time.

I would like 3 Monitors one smallish in the middle for writing and one on either side for browsers and other programs. I think that having a program to type in always open even if it’s just a notepad is important if you are into online writing and publishing.


Kevin Kane April 10, 2011 at 12:31 am

Hi Roezer,

Today I’m doing some onilne marketing work for a client. My 3 monitors really helped:

1. On the left screen I had an email that I was editing as I worked. I sent it to her when I was finished to show her the work that I’d done today.

2. On the middle screen I was editing her WordPress site — copywriting, resizing photos, changing the layout, etc.

3. On the right screen I had a browser window to refer to websites for instructions and troubleshooting tips on the Thesis WordPress theme.

Having 3 screens is a godsend. Thanks for dropping by.


Mick November 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm

I always use a laptop for work + an additional 2 monitors. And so overall it’s a nice article.


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