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The End of the Keyboard and Mouse

April 1, 2011 – by Per Christensson

According to a recent report, the mouse and keyboard are on their way out. Thanks to advances in touchscreen technology, the standard input devices we have grown accustomed to will be obsolete by next year.

Several leading technology companies have already made plans to move on from the traditional keyboard and mouse. Apple announced it would not support "old fashioned" input devices in the next version of Mac OS X, which is slated for release this summer. When asked about the decision, CEO Steve Jobs stated, "People don't use computers to type documents anymore. They prefer to browse the Web, read books, and play 99¢ games." He also mentioned the iPhone and iPad were the computers of the future. "These devices are much more fun to use than a clunky desktop or laptop computer," he said. "By removing support for the keyboard and mouse in Mac OS X 10.7, we are making computing more enjoyable for everyone."

Microsoft, the world's leading software developer, also announced plans to phase out the aging keyboard and mouse. CEO Steve Balmer said, "Windows has supported touchscreen input for many years. We have been waiting for the right moment to completely eliminate the keyboard and mouse, and now is the time." Windows 8 is rumored to not include any device drivers for keyboards or mice. Additionally, the system will immediately delete any mouse or keyboard drivers installed by the user. Balmer backed the company's decision saying, "The future of computing is in the cloud. You don't need a mouse and keyboard when you're working in the cloud."

So how will computers of the future be controlled, if not with a keyboard and mouse? According to a U.S. government mandate, all displays manufactured in 2012 or later must include touchscreen capability and consume 90% less energy than current models. Additionally, companies like Logitech and Kensington are busy developing new input solutions. Logitech is reportedly working with Nintendo on a 3D motion device that allows users to control their computer by simply moving their hands. Kensington is rumored to be developing some type of flat surface with no buttons, but no one knows exactly what it is or how it will be used.

According to industry experts, the abandonment of the keyboard and mouse is a huge step forward in computing. After all, pushing buttons on a screen is much more comfortable than using an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. Everyone knows it's much faster to type on a tablet than an actual keyboard. And who needs a mouse when you can simply use your finger point to shiny objects on a screen? Oh keyboard and mouse, you will be missed.

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