So, because of my own foolishness I'm forced to be making this update on an iPad - though due to Safari incomprehensibly lacking the key HTML support necessary for writing in the text box, I'm writing this text in an email - and it's a strange experience. This is the first time I've used an iPad for any length of time, and it's idiosyncrasies are significantly different from the more beefy computers I've been familiar with over the past fifteen years. Such as, for example, Autocorrect, as you can see by that "it's" up there.
Not that it's EASY to write on an iPad. That "EASY" took eight keystrokes, for example.
Which is really the crux of it, though I don't know if it extends to other tablet computers. The iPad is good for watching, for reading, for perusing - but not creating. Writing with a digital keyboard that obligates me to regress back to hunt-and-peck is a chore. From what I've seen the basic word-processing capabilities are purely nominal. I can watch YouTube videos, but neither comment on them nor see the existing comments thanks to Steve Jobs' animus against Flash, and while plenty of YouTube comments are better left unseen, removing the option entirely reduces it to essentially online television.
Put simply, the iPad seems to be a device geared for consumption, not creation, and while the concept did arise organically as a natural midpoint between computers and smartphones, I suspect that in years to come tablets such as this will be pushed ever more strongly on the population. Transhumance Space forecast a world where general-purpose computers were made illegal by 2015, and while I don't expect to see that come true I do expect to see governments and corporations alike encourage a paradigm shift in computing that just happens to make people less participatory and more pliant. Don't maintain a blog, just read the online newspapers. Don't comment online, let other people make your opinion heard. Don't think, just agree and consume.
I think it may be closer than we think.