Even with the massive push generated by the iPad, touchscreen adoption will be slow and mainly a generational thing, says Gartner. The biggest challenge will be weaning older users off the mouse-and-keyboard computing model that t
hey are used to. Which means that enterprise adoption will be slow.
"What we're going to see is the younger generation beginning to use touchscreen computers ahead of enterprises," says Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner.
The analyst firm’s prediction is that by 2015 more than 50 percent of computers purchased for kids younger than 15 will be touchscreen. Which, if true, probably means that the mouse-and-keyboard will be all but extinct in fifteen years.
Or, at best, be like print today.
Gartner expects touchscreen adoption to first happen among consumers and in education, with enterprise adoption falling on the molasses side of the spectrum. Gartner predicts that less than 10 percent of enterprise computers in 2015 will be touchscreen.
“The ‘muscle memory’ of mouse users and the potential problems of moving a user's hands from the keyboard to the mouse will create particular adoption barriers for knowledge workers,” says Gartner.
What will begin as use of the device for entertainment and casual gaming will eventually warp into full-on computing. While older computers will continue to do the bulk of their computing with the traditional input methods, Gartner expects that younger users will be trained to feel more at ease with touchscreen computing, as they will begin using it at school at an early age.
"An entire generation will graduate within the next 10 to 15 years for whom touch input is totally natural," Firing says.