I firmly believe the future of computing is touch, but will that include the PC? I know a few people who think touch computing is just a fad like 3D TV and will be gone soon. I however think touch computing is here to stay but I think it will happen one of two ways.
The PC will adapt to touch computing and continue being dominant. This is what I hope will happen. I hope that computers like what we use today like laptops and even desktops will embrace touch interfaces and we will have powerful machines that we can interact with touch. Now the mouse and keyboard will not go away as the mouse is more precise especially when using video and audio or even image editing programs and you need a keyboard for programing but lets face it most people use their computers to check email and Facebook, or to play flash-based games. I think this gives the all in one device we are looking for instead of having to have multiple devices to take with us when we travel.
The second way is similar to what we see today. Basic tablets like the iPad, or Android tablets will replace most computers in the home because they meet the needs of people who just check email and Facebook. Lets get real here, most people do not really need all the power in their computer all the time and could make by with just a basic tablet. I mean these tablets are just big smartphones and people use smartphones all day long for similar functions.
Now Microsoft is trying to position itself to be ready no matter which scenario works out. If normal PC’s go the route of touch than I expect to see Windows RT go by the way side but if these less powerful media tablets start winning the battle (like the iPad and Android tablets) then I expect to see Windows RT further developed into something to compete with these devices and probably no longer contain a Desktop. While Windows 8.X (Or whatever version we are on to by this time) will keep the desktop and rely less on the modern environment. We could then see Windows booting straight to Desktop and maybe not containing the Start Screen at some point. Again this is all speculation and just what I see as I look in from the outside.
Either way touch screen devices are here to stay in the home, now seeing them in business uses we will have to wait and see. I see either way working out long-term for the future of computing what I do not see is computers staying in their traditional configuration (non-touch) and being as dominant as they once were, not in the home. Again this will be different in businesses but for the home market computing is changing and its future is touch.