Each new mobile product seems to lead us to conclude that that no one will come up with a smaller, smarter or unique gizmo than we are presently using. But, the techies keep on rolling out new "toys" - which we all seem to rush out to buy. Exhibit #1 - the Apple iPad.
Slate peers into the future:
"But let's start with the devices themselves. The most basic question about tomorrow's mobile gadgets is one that we're struggling to answer today: How many different devices will we have? At the moment, we have a lot of different tools with overlapping functionality. You can read books on your smartphone, tablet, or e-reader. You can play tunes and watch movies on your music player, phone, or tablet. If you're going on a trip, do you carry your phone and your laptop, your phone and your tablet, your phone and your e-reader, or just your phone? Some people will carry everything—see last year's Wall Street Journal profile of tech geeks who carry too many electronics when they travel. (Phil Libin, the CEO of the software company Evernote, carries a 26-pound backpack stuffed with computers, tablets, phones, cameras, batteries, and cables.) Most of us, though, are going to spend our time and money on just one or two of these devices. Now imagine it's 2016. Which gadgets are you taking along on your morning commute?
I'm betting on the smartphone and the tablet—in other words, you'll carry a small computer for your pocket and a bigger one for your purse or backpack. I'm not predicting that other devices will die out—people will still use e-readers, laptops, video cameras, and music players, but we'll think of them as niche devices, things you reach for when you want to do something specialized."