@mraak Gnome 3? iOS?
It's worth mentioning that neither of these paid much attention to Gnome 2 or OSX. For the former that's quite important - how many linux tablets are there in comparison to the number of actively used linux desktops? Not many. For the latter it seems unimportant; Macs are still Mac OSX. But if Apple decide that, actually, people should use Macbooks and iMacs iOS way too (and really the desktop metaphor has been one big horrible mistake that's costing Steve Job's some money, and who's stupid idea was it anyway?) there may be similar gnashing of teeth. [But not too much because fanbois are fawning, cult crazed pillocks for whom St Jobs can do no wrong. Ooops, did that come out aloud?].
The thing that worries me is that desktop machines may be deprived of the 'desktop metaphor'. Imagine if iOS's 'tablet metaphor' became dominant. How would we look at two applications' windows at once?
There seems to be an unseemly rush for tablet friendliness in operating systems. Presumably MS, Apple and Gnome are chasing commercial success / popularity (delete as appropriate), for suddenly tablets are where it's at for some reason or other. But those of us who actually have to use computers for work may be cut out of it. Boo and hiss. For instance, imagine trying to use a CAD package to make up a drawing from a sketch in a customer's email if you can't place the CAD applications' window next to the email's window?
Tablet friendliness in OSes is an indicator of general trend in computing that should be becoming quite worrying for a wide range of professionals. Undoubtedly the commercial drive is towards battery powered small portable devices. Apple really has made billions out of that market, and everyone wants a major slice of that pie. Apple's commercial success is a very powerful indicator that the majority of people are reasonably happy with a machine that browses, emails, can do iPlayer (there's an app for that...) and YouTube and not a lot else. Most corporate users can get by quite happily with a tiny little ol' PC just about capable of running Office.
But there are many professions out there that require a decent amount of computing grunt and a couple of large screens. For example, DVD compilers, graphic artists, large scale application developers, scientists and engineers, CAD, etc. etc. Gamers count too in my arguement. Trouble is, whilst there's plenty of diverse professions requiring computing grunt, there's not that many professionals doing them. They don't represent a significant portion of the overall purchasing population, so they don't figure highly in the strategic planning of corporations like Apple, MS, Intel, AMD.
So what do we see? ARM suddenly threating to take over the world; tabletiness creeping into OSes; R&D money being spent on battery powered devices with small screens and no keyboards; high prices for machines (especially laptops) that have decent screens and high performance.
I've no idea how far the trend away from cheap high performance computing will go. To a large extent the market for high performance desktop users is heavily subsidised by the massive server market. Intel and AMD have to produce high performance chips for servers, so it's not very expensive to spin those out for the desktop users too. But Intel and AMD may wind up losing a big share of the server market to ARM as well; it's a distinct possibility. That would drive the prices for big powerful chips right up, and certainly dull AMD and Intel's enthusiasm for spending billions of dollars on developing better ones.
All this could make life much more expensive and under resourced for the high performance desktop user. I'm not looking forward to it!
Just in case anyone thinks that it will never come to this, think again. Commercial pressures do mean that these large companies are not at all charitable when it comes to niche (but still largish) market segments. If Intel/AMD/whoever decides at some distant point in the future that there's only a couple of billion in revenue to be made from designing a new 16 core 5 GHz chip but tens of billions from 2 core 1 GHz chips running at 0.05W, they will make the latter. They wouldn't be able to justify making the faster chip to their shareholders. Worse than that, they'd likely get sued by their shareholders if they chose otherwise. The question then would be will they still manufacture their fastest design just for the sake of the niche high performance market? Maybe, but it's not guaranteed, and it likely wouldn't come cheap.