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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.

Right now, you won't find multitouch desktop displays capable of resolutions higher than 1920 by 1080 (also known as "full HD"). Even 27-inch touch displays are limited to 1080p; and no 2560-by-1440-resolution displays with capacitive touch are yet available for discrete, stand-alone monitors. Fortunately, however, the display quality at 1080p is great on many touch displays.

The possibility of integrating multitouch in high-res monitors is not far-fetched. Case in point: Dell already sells a 27-inch all-in-one--the XPS One--that features native 2560 by 1440 resolution. Whether future touch displays take this direction will depend largely on consumer demand and on how much consumers are willing to pay. Prices of 27-inch, 2560-by-1440­pixel panels are starting to drop, so it's likely that we'll see some high-resolution models with multitouch support in 2013.

In mid-2012, Apple began bringing its high-definition Retina screen to the MacBook Pro in stages. Those high-def screens are expensive, but so far consumers seem to be prepared to pay for them. Even so, the rollout could happen slowly on the desktop, largely because using standard-definition technology for displays of 19 inches or greater remains more cost effective. That means that the iMac could be the last to go Retina.

But larger displays might not even be the best use of Retina technology. You could argue that it's overkill for a 24- or 27-inch monitor; it would be gorgeous, but it would also be awfully expensive.

More screen space and better ergonomics: Smaller bezels and shrinking profiles are likely to become the norm for both freestanding computer displays and all-in-ones. The newest line of iMacs are 45 percent thinner and 8 pounds lighter than previous generati


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