I agree: the technology’s not new, the implementation is maybe not yet perfect, the price is way off it being ready for the mainstream. I still rate the concept, though: in simplest terms the horizontal multitouch screen part of the thing.
I also agree there’s plenty of technology solutions in search of a problem out there. But there is a drive to find a way of interfacing with increasingly small computers that is simpler and more universal that the current screen/keyboard/mouse setup. Hence the surge of “post-PC devices” Jobs speaks of – not to replace the PC but to do something different. The iPhone’s part of that, but Surface is a bigger, more universal solution.
So you don’t want to toss your photos all over the table. But that’s where Surface lets you have your cake and eat it: you can spill your photos out, everyone can grab them and paw at them, resize them, stick them back randomly. But with one click you can reorder them back into their well organised stack and put them away.
That’s the advantage over a pile of paper photos, but if your photos are in digital format the advantage over a keyboard and mouse is that, revolutionary though they were as an interface, they still aren’t well suited to, for example, quickly resizing, cropping or touching up photos.
So getting your camera or phone to work wirelessly with your desktop would be great (and will of course happen soon too) but most probably your desktop’s still in your study, and anyway trying to interface with its screen directly is going to do nothing more than leave smudge marks.
I don’t see Surface taking off in a big way this year or next. But a few years down the line and we might be seeing these popping up in a lot of places. Hopefully including mine.