Originally Posted by cmf2
Of course capacitive multitouch screens, lighter weights, stronger low power processors, better batteries, and operating systems designed from the ground up for touch wouldn't help a tablets chances at all.
From a hardware perspective, laptops face pretty much the same hurdles. As for software, there have been plenty of tablet OSes written for the ground up.
You also got the reason why the iPhone succeeds completely wrong. There have been pocketable touchscreens before it, none have reached anywhere near the heights of the iPhone. There is more to the picture than what you have described, and if Apple does produce a tablet, I think you will see that there is more to that picture as well.
There is certainly more to the picture.
The reason why I mentioned size as paramount is because all tablet-resembling computers that have ever had even the slightest degree of success, have been small enough to fit in a pocket. The point being, the iPhone and a larger tablet are completely different devices. That slight difference in size has massive implications for how humans are willing to integrate the device into their life. The convenience of carrying a particular sized object will never change, regardless of technological advances.
This isn't to say that larger tablet devices won't become more popular. It's just recognizing the reason why tablets haven't become popular while pocket computers and laptops/desktops have. At an extremely low price though, people will certainly adopt tablets into their computing usage. But for the most part, that usage will supplement their current computing, not replace it.
Laptops, and even desktops for that matter, could also bennefit from multi-touch. The key is price. For the given price, the masses have repeatedly spoken, they don't want to pay for computers with touch screens (and touch interfaces)... yet. When touch screens become ridiculously cheap, we will without a doubt see touch interfaces integrated into our daily lives. Desktops and laptops too, not just tablets, will benefit from that technology. By that point though, people will likely have also adopted tablets for certain tasks. I doubt they will carry them around too much more than we see today though.