Heresy I hear you say. You’re mad I also hear you say. But let me explain why I believe this will be the case.
Firstly, I’ll say that the desktop will remain for a subset of power users who require the functionality but they will be far and away the minority (much like the command prompt now in Windows). Why? Because the world is moving to touch, Apple, Android and even Microsoft is fast becoming primarily about touch.
Touch makes sense for the vast majority of the way that we use technology these days. The bulk of users ‘consume’ information rather than create it and consumption is best achieved through touch. If the vast majority of technology users are consumers and mainly require touch it makes sense for technology suppliers to move in this direction.
The second major trend is the growing dominance of mobile devices. These are typically devices without a separate keyboards. Sales of mobile devices already out strip standard desktops. Again, this doesn’t mean the desktop will disappear overnight, what it means that it will become an ever diminishing part of the technology landscape. This therefore also means that the concept of a traditional desktop will diminish as the dominance of mobile devices grows.
Stop and think about how you use your technology today. You boot up and then run a number of apps. There is really little interaction with a ‘desktop’. Given that most suppliers are looking for a common experience across all their devices it makes sense to eliminate the desktop which is particularly desktop focused.
The final thing to consider is that such a move away from the desktop is not without precedence. For those who can remember, users successfully transitioned from the world of the command prompt and DOS to the new world of the graphical user interface (GUI) and Windows. The depreciation of the desktop is simply a continuing move in the direction of optimizing the way the major of people interact with technology.