Back when I was growing up in the 1970s, we fully expected that, by 2012, we’d all be driving flying cars to our condos on the moon where robotic butlers awaited, ready to bring us the cure for cancer from the bathroom first-aid kit. How’s all of that working out? Sure, we now have faster, smaller computers, smartphones that talk back to you, and smart TVs, but in so many areas of technology the pace of change is slower than Windows Vista booting off a floppy disk.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about 15 technologies that will be gone by the time my infant son is old enough to use them. However, barring a zombie apocalypse, there are plenty of mainstays that my son will still be using when he enters college in 2030.
Though voice recognition, handwriting recognition and gesture control will all become more accurate and popular in the next two decades, my son will be typing his term papers like his dad and grandfather did before him. Until mind-control text entry becomes ubiquitous, typing will remain the most accurate method for composing and editing text. We just don’t speak the same way that we write.
Though physical keyboards are in danger of becoming extinct on phones and tablets, their virtual equivalents will live on. On larger form factors like notebooks, the feel of real plastic keys will not be surpassed. Whether virtual or real, the QWERTY layout, which first appeared in 1878, will continue to dominate.