I finally received the first new PC that I bought and paid for in 5 1/2 years this week. I can definitely say that the AMD k6 233 Mhz PC from 1998 served me very well, although it seems I've squeezed every penny of use from it and it now is not able to be productive for me anymore.
However, the changes in the last 5 years or so since that previous PC seem to be very linear. You'd think that with the fast changes in technology that I'd not be able to keep up with the latest trends. But come to think of it, a PC is still composed of a CPU, RAM, a hard disk storage, and some type of removable storage.
The changes have been faster CPU, faster and more memory, faster and greater hard disk storage, and a greater variety of removable storage - ie CD-RW, DVD+-R/RW, USB media & flash storage. But the core PC concept hasn't really changed.
I wonder what the next radical change to the PC will be - such a radical change in PC architecture that most people won't recognize such a linear progress...
Perhaps a PC or Mac that only uses RAM and removable media to run faster and more secure? Perhaps a network appliance machine that becomes popular with the masses due to the popularity of broadband - so you CAN have your personal CPU follow you everywhere you go without carrying around a laptop (ie. just carry around an encrypted key that allows you to log on to any computer anywhere to securely and quickly access your own CPU at home)??