I am a "layman." I.e., not a computer professional. [My computer work entails producing documents using WordPerfect, Adobe Acrobat Pro, and some Excel.]
That being said, I have used "portable" computers daily in my work since I bought my first Compaq Portable in 1983:http://www.computermuseum.li/Testpage/Compaq-Portable-1982.jpg
I then moved on to the Toshiba laptop with red font, and then on to the IBM ThinkPad 755c.
Since then, I have owned A31p's, T42p's, X61s', X61T's, widescreen T61p's, X61's, etc.
This thread made me go back and look at the IBM 755c on the web. I now know why my preferred daily driver is the Lenovo X61, 4:3, 2.4Ghz, 8Gb, W7 64-bit, AGN, Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid 500 Gb.
It is the same form factor as my old IBM 755c !!! 4:3 screen using a small font, so I can place it close to me on the desk so my eyes don't have to scan too wide horizontally, tall enough that I don't have to constantly scroll vertically, and close enough so I can type comfortably - and the uber-functional mini-joystick which IBM dubbed the "TrackPoint" which I simply could not live without.
Am I old and dislike change? Hmmm...
I am definitely old enough to have entered the "Name our new laptop line" contest. (You should all be happy that I didn't win because what I suggested wasn't as catchy as "ThinkPad.")
Looking at my vocation and avocations, I employ a blend of new and old school technologies. My river running kayak of choice is the old school Necky Jive - narrow but with a planing hull. My powder ski of choice is the 195cm Rossignol Super 7 - definitely new school. I would swap my '77 Corvette for a 2014 Subaru WRX Concept in a heartbeat. I am modding the tuning and injectors on my Ford Powerstroke 7.3L, but have no interest in the newer Ford diesels.
Form should follow Function and both should follow Purpose.
My top of the line IBM 755c cost slightly over $5K with the IBM-installed upgrades and accessories, as did the A31p's.
When computers first came out the Purpose was Work - mostly document production (there is a reason books have been produced in mainly portrait mode since the invention of the printing press in 1400, and 8.5x11 paper documents are mostly printed in portrait mode).
And the market was a narrow niche of Professionals that needed and could afford computers given their relatively high prices.
The current Purpose has shifted to Entertainment. The market is Mass. Lenovo is a Chinese company which no doubt wants to chase the mass market.
My guess is that the desirability of the 4:3 screen aspect ratio will be re-discovered in the next few years. (Didn't Jobs settle on it for the iPad?) But it will likely make its debut through the back door as a tablet with an independent keyboard on which the screen can be oriented in portrait mode.
At first it will be a retrograde solution, an under-powered tablet/netbook hybrid. But eventually, some manufacturer will re-discover the pent up demand of the Professional and produce a powerful 4:3 screen tablet which rotates to portrait (I wish my X61T's would rotate to portrait).
Lenovo are you listening?
Personal Rant Off...