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Future Tech 2013: The PCs, tablets and cutting-edge hardware of tomorrow

PCWorld Staff | Jan. 7, 2013
The forward march of technology moves at a dizzying pace. Yesterday's gadgets look like quaint antiques.

Apple has been experimenting with voice recognition for some time through Siri on the iPhone, and we hear persistent rumors that this might be one of the key features that its long-expected TV will offer, or that future models of the Apple TV receivers could include. --Richard Baguley


Thinner. Higher-definition. Less power-hungry. You can expect these traits to define monitors for desktop and laptop computers for the next two years.

Buyers want, and even expect, longer battery life and sleeker design with every generation of displays. So manufacturers have every reason to keep turning out devices that satisfy that market, recognizing that buyers deem the display to be a crucial part of the user experience.

Touchscreens: Windows 8 integrates touch support as no previous version of Windows has done. In the new Windows Start screen and in Windows Store applications, you'll be able to use a multitude of touch gestures, many of them involving full, ten-point multitouch interaction; that is, the display will recognize the unique input from all ten fingers. And numerous multitouch displays that fully support Windows 8 are on the horizon.

Some new Windows 8 devices come with pressure-sensitive styluses that let you draw or paint digitally with predictable precision; we'll continue to see more such products in the coming year.

And what about Apple? iOS devices have led the way for Apple in offering high-definition displays, so it stands to reason that its touchscreen technology may also be on the way to the Mac, de­­spite the company's long-standing reluctance to adopt it. After all, competitors like HP have been putting touchscreens on desktop and laptop PCs for years.While Apple has so far been careful to maintain the boundary between its iOS and Mac operating systems, it would be harder to maintain that separation if everything had a touchscreen. The latest versions of the Mac OS have used trackpads as a touch-by-proxy system, and the market seems to like that compromise.

Better resolution, but slowly: The first rule of monitor shopping is, Don't skimp on image quality! You can work around awkward pedestals and poorly located cable connectors. But you'll be staring at your screen day in and day out, so it's not the place to economize.

Luckily, current-generation touch displays, though expensive, appear to use high-quality components. Most boast IPS (in-plane switching) technology, which offers a wide range of satisfactory viewing angles plus good color fidelity. Samsung is coming out with new PLS (plane-to-line switching) displays, which the company claims beat their IPS rivals in viewing angle, brightness, image quality, and cost of production. Analysts expect to see Samsung's series of low-end PLS-based monitors at some point in 2013.


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