Bill Gates with Steve Jobs next to him were asked what they thought the future devices of computing would be like in about 5 years.
First, Bill Gates' idea of the future of computing:
I don't think you'll have one device. I think you'll have a full-screen device that you can carry around and you'll do dramatically more reading off of that... yeah, I mean, I believe in the tablet form factor [...] You'll have some way of having a hardware keyboard and some settings for that. And then you'll have the device that fits in your pocket, which the whole notion of how much function should you combine in there, you know, there's navigation computers, there's media, there's phone.
Sounds eerily like the iPad and what Apple is doing right now.
Gates even goes on to be more specific and say:
You'll have the device that fits in your pocket.. the whole notion that each device will be tuned for specific things.. these are natural form factors and they will be complementary of each other, that is if you own one you will be much more likely to own the other
This is exactly what is happening with the iPhone and iPad.
But when it became Jobs turn to tell us what he thinks computing will be in 5 years he actually said otherwise:
It will be the PC, maybe used a little more tightly coupled with some back-end Internet services and some things like that. And, of course, PCs are going mobile in an ever greater degree. So I think the PC is going to continue. This general purpose device is going to continue to be with us and morph with us, whether it's a tablet or a notebook or, you know, a big curved desktop that you have at your house or whatever it might be. So I think that'll be something that most people have, at least in this society. In others, maybe not, but certainly in this one. But then there's an explosion that's starting to happen in what you call post-PC devices, right? You can call the iPod one of them. There's a lot of things that are not. … I think there's just a category of devices that aren't as general purpose, that are really more focused on specific functions, whether they're phones or iPods or Zunes or what have you. And I think that category of devices is going to continue to be very innovative and we're going to see lots of them.
We're getting to the point where everything's a computer in a different form factor. So what, right? So what if it's built with a computer inside it? It doesn't matter. It's, what is it? How do you use it? You know, how does the consumer approach it? And so who cares what's inside it anymore
It's interesting to see how Gates decribed the future tablet and how it would be more of a reading device and how Jobs view was actually different. Now Apple is creating and dominating this exact market and forum factor. Gates can say 'I told you so' but Jobs is the one thats actually pioneering it.