As a metareflection on the now classic adage that the iPhone is a device from the flying car future we always dreamed of, the speculative device in Bruce Sterlings near-future short story in the most recent Wired Mag has a flash demo that looks conspicuously like the iPhone.
I would be extremely dissappointed if we still have this interface in ten years...
If we look back in ten year increments it goes something like this:
2007: Usable smart phone
1997: Usable laptop - smart phones exist but suck
1987: Usable PC - laptops exist but suck
1977: Personal computers exist but suck
So, hopefully the next decade gives us something completely else. If we use the "it exists now, but it sucks" barometer to gauge the future, what will it be? Arduinish hackable physical objects? A big ass table? eBooks that are cheap and don't suck? Speech recognition we actually want to use?
Note above that I'm not talking about "useful at all" but "generally useful". For each of the generations above, the generation before was heralded as "actually useful" - it's just that there's a long way from actually useful to generally useful.
I'm hoping for "a physical turn" in interfaces.