One can easily imagine there was such a collective sigh of relief from Redmond over MacBook Air that the Eastern half of the US has had two days of frigid weather as seen in the Green Bay Packers vs New York Giants football game. No full touchscreen tablet to make Windows PC tablets look like the ten years of poverty-thinking that they are.
Instead the MacBook Air as covered at Engadget showed a touchscreen as touchpad embedded like a small rink slightly large than an iPhone in the front of the Airs keyboard. And there were a whole set of gestures and finger-painting motions that the touchpad responded to for this intro into the world of GUI touch that will inevitably appear full screen in the near future.
But the ball game is still open – never count Microsoft down and out. The problem will be to see if a full touch screen can be made a)cheap enough and b)precision sensitive enough to do things like the Wacom touch tablet does and yet be durable enough and d)be universally programmable for discerning and acting on a wide set of gestures. I have said it before but it bears repeating – the laptop/desktop vendor first to market with full touchscreen operation with GUI smarts like iPhone or Operas browser will win significant market share, maybe 20-50% of the PC/laptop marketplace if the price is right.