In the past I’ve observed that as processor speed increases, software replaces dedicated hardware. For example, in music or video production programs like GarageBand and Final Cut Pro and a stock Macintosh can replace dedicated rack systems and DSP chips.
Now with Web 2.0-ish advances on the Internet, we can go further and say as bandwidth increases, remote applications replace locally installed applications.
Yamaha has developed a beautiful prototype of a device that “allows everyone to play music intuitively.” But the simplicity of the user interface begs the question of why isn’t it implemented in software (i.e. why can’t I get my hands on this now?). I know the obvious answers, and I appreciate a great hardware UI and portability, but believe we’ll only gain more utility from network-based software applications as people adopt them. It makes even more sense when you see someone make something that looks similar and is a lot of fun, like Ollie Rankin’s Ten or Eleven (imagine this on a tablet PC).