Sketch of the Archetypal Computer
's column on
trends for the Web in 1997
A simple sketch of the typical computer circa Anno 1996
Note that the drawing does not show the processing unit but only the input/output devices. It is quite typical for non-technical users to think of the monitor as the main part of the computer.
If we had asked people to draw "a typical computer" back in the 1970s when I was a computer science student, they would probably have drawn a big monster with several closet-sized cabinets with plenty of spinning magnetic tapes and blinking lights. I mention this to provide historical evidence that it is indeed possible for the concept of "a typical computer" to change quite radically. (As I am predicting that it will again soon.)
The same sketch made today would look identical, except that the monitor would likely be flat. Progress is extremely slow when it comes to these broad concepts.