Cover by Charles Arthur

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Chapter Six

Tablets

‘Within five years’

‘Within five years, I predict this will be the most popular form of PC sold in America’, said the middle-aged man, wearing his customary glasses, and hefting aloft an unusual new product: a computer that relied on a touch-sensitive screen, instead of a keyboard, for its input. He continued: ‘We just finished some of the prototypes of that device, and I have to say there’s been more fighting over who gets to use those prototypes than any new thing that we’ve ever done. I think that’s a good sign’, he told the audience, adding that the design was ‘the ultimate evolution of the laptop’.

Bill Gates turned out to be wrong. The audience at the Comdex in Las Vegas on that November day in 2000 weren’t getting ...

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