The more I think about it, the more impressed I am by the mouse. Tough to say, but it's one of very few inventions that was basically perfect right from the start, what, over 50 years ago? Pretty amazing feat.
i really have no idea what the next input device breakthrough will be, especially in relation to touchscreens.
I'm guessing a data glove of various kinds.
For example, if I turn my optical mouse upside down, because it doesn't need the old trackball-in-a-cage, the only "useful" part of the mouse is a 0.5 by 1 inch little visual window, and maybe the buttons. The rest is this big battery-and-mysterious-mous
ey stuff that prob doesn't need to be there if they use smartphone miniturization (spelling?) level of tech.
So imagine a (pair?) of gloves where the sensor is under a finger. Then you just slide your finger around on the table/pad/armchair.
As for the mouse-typing switch, just figure out a way to toggle between data-finger and typing-finger for the keyboard.
Think for a moment how much movement is wasted to move the cursor to type a post, then back up top to close the tab, then somewhere else.
Question: Is it possible with current Win XP tech to create TWO mice pointers, color coded? Then you leave one up near the top for that stuff, the other does regular stuff? I'm guessing not, but then I wouldn't have guessed virtual desktops either! (Or any of a million other things!)