As we look through the history of user interaction with a computing device, we have seen numerous transitions in how we interact. There have been attempts at many alternative approaches -- many of which never made it and some which made it then quickly disappeared. Many of you won't remember the "light pen" for example which was used to select data on a screen by touching the screen with the specialized pen. The mouse was by far one of the greatest interaction inventions, but even that was replaced by a touchpad device, and gestures as a means to replace specific clicks and keystrokes. The touchscreen will eliminate those before we know it across all devices.
The Mouse and the touchpad are indeed interaction models which I expect to see disappear over the next few years. The movement to touch screen and hybrid devices, and the need to create visualizations that can be interacted upon by touch devices will end the era of the mouse. We'll move to touch screen devices, and eye movement recognition for many of our applications.
So what does that mean to us? It means that we have to develop our applications with the reality that a finger may be the "selection tool" of choice. Gestures will move us from place to place. As we know, that means larger "targets" and more space and larger fonts in our text selection areas, and intuitive logic for our gestures (and of course, lots of cloths to clean those screens).
The rumors are that Apple will release an 11 inch Ipad .... watch as this size device or larger becomes the "desktop" of choice .... One thing for sure about the space we're working in .... you can never get bored .... and if you do, you will be irrelevant before you know it.