What will Macs be like in 25 years?

It's fun to speculate: here are some ideas about what the Mac of tomorrow could be like.
What will the Macintosh be like in 25 years?

What will the Macintosh be like in 25 years?

On the other side of the coin, traditional displays are getting much bigger and cheaper. Soon, it'll be possible to control a wall of LCDs wirelessly with pocket-size devices. Higher resolutions and more powerful, energy-efficient LEDs are making all of this possible.

And it doesn't stop there. Apple just made a US$500 million investment in LG, which has been doing some amazing things with 3-D displays. Such far-fetched ideas as projecting images right into the backs of your eyes are even being studied.

Networking: More and more machines are going wireless-only now. Wireless 802.11n Wi-Fi networks can achieve speeds faster than the 100BaseT networks that were state of the art only a few years ago. And it won't just be networking equipment: peripherals will be wireless as well. Ultrawideband (UWB) and Wireless USB are the newest technologies to take us in that direction.

Not only will wireless Internet technologies like WiMax and Long-Term Evolution (LTE) make virtually unlimited bandwidth possible ( as Bill Gates had predicted -- just a bit late), but optical switch and router technology will help reduce latency so that interacting with someone across the ocean feels like interacting with someone across the room.

Data input will be one of the biggest areas of innovation over the next quarter of a century. Many paradigms are already shifting with the use of multitouch technology. Speech recognition is still chugging along and slowly improving, as shown by the Google Mobile iPhone App that allows you to do searches based on speech. In the next 25 years, the ways in which we communicate with devices will only improve. By 2034, we might even have a direct brain-machine interface.

So how does this all come together? My guess about the '34 Mac is that it will be a wearable computer so intertwined with the human body that it almost disappears. By then, we'll be trained to interact with technology from birth and any user interface may well be invisible to us. Will that device be a Mac? It very well could be.

Seth Weintraub is a columnist and blogger who runs the IT department of a multi-national branding firm by day and blogs madly at night.

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