The movie, “Minority Report,” showed what technology could be, someday. No, this is not arresting before they commit crimes. It’s about scenes in which Tom Cruise’s character walks through a mall and animated holograms address him by name. Technology isn’t quite that personal, yet. But there are signs in the emerging generation of computing and telephony devices of yet-another revolution in hardware and software. Two devices have the potential to change our platforms: Microsoft’s Surface computer and Apple’s iPhone. Most of us are not going to be using iPhones to make calls, or using Surface technology to turn our coffee tables into computer devices soon. But the incredible clarity of the display of the iPhone and its wafer-thin profile and it ability to shift its image when the phone is turned, and Surface’s touch-screen technology in Surface, which is beyond what most of us have seen, will force technology companies back to the R&D labs. Surface is harder to grasp. At Microsoft’s World Wide Partner conference, Surface was on displayed to enthralled crowds. One demonstration involved what looked like glass blocks being shuffled across the computer’s surface. Separate, each showed the same picture. When put together, the picture grew to the size of the number of blocks that were contiguous “Like an insect’s eyes,” I remarked. “Exactly,” responded the demonstrator. I said I could see an immediate market—places like Casinos that have money and need “flash.” Indeed, a casino is one of the early buyers. The screen showed a graphical map of the facility, tailored so an individual could find show times and restaurants, make reservations, and accumulate and spend the points awarded valued gamblers. Mobile technology was already in turmoil before the iPhone. Surface is likely to have a less direct impact,  and will be incorporated into other devices. This comes at a time when the role of operating systems and applications are likely to change dramatically over the next three years, certainly the next five. Or take the iPod, whose newest version can hold 20,000 songs. Of course, most teenagers won’t spend 99 cents a song: Hopefully, they’ll copy songs like most already do. No, this is about what the new capacity enables us to do that we couldn’t do before, and probably hadn’t thought of.  

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