Personally, I think the TB has that potential, though there is one really big thing working against it. That is, there will be resistance to such a big change, fed by the problem that even people who try it, but need to sometimes is a standard keyboard, will run into that aggravating experience where you try to go back to the standard keyboard and it feels awful! So if they must use a standard keyboard, rather than give themselves a chance to learn to switch back and forth (which testers have reported isn't a big problem), a lot will panic and decide to stay away from the TB in fear the problem will last.
However, if it is accepted by many, we can have laptops with much smaller keyboards - more room for the battery or other stuff.
But this isn't about the tech in the TB (magnets, etc). But rather just the basic concept - the three rows, taking up a fraction of the space of a regular keyboard, and the use of layers to be more efficient at most things. Whether they use 8 big keys like the TB with magnets or do a more traditional individual keys/character (but still in the same size and with layers), what could that mean?
I can see an extra set of keys (any technology) that could be attached right above the two blades, towards the center (above the T/Y area). Could probably put 3-4 keys there, not have to reach too far, that people could program for easy access, especially to things they may not do a lot.
For example, while I can control media on the media layer, I'd love to have some keys up there which I would set up to pause/play media. Maybe volume, or fast forward/rewind, etc. And you'd still have the green layer and green shift. So, for example, I may use one button for volume up and the same button on the green layer for volume down.
This is just one of many possibilities. Could even be an add-on thing in a future design so you buy it only if you want it, but the TB would work either way.
I've thought about such things before (likewise a track pad that might come in two parts (to stack properly), but in use would combine to form a square with tiny line down the middle. Make it so it could simulate a mouse click and it would be great!
But today I got to thinking about another idea - about basic keyboard concepts.
One of the great things about the TB is how the keys are, horizontally, the same size as a standard keyboard. But why is that size considered best?
We know that smaller tends to make you feel cramped, but what about bigger? Clearly if you made keys bigger, thus further apart, vertically, you are really pushing the reach requirements and all the problems that creates. So maybe the "preferred" vertical reach isn't necessarily because it is the "best", but merely the best when you already have to reach fairly far.
But that isn't the case with the TB. Three rows of the TB takes up less distance than just two on my Apple keyboard! That doesn't even count that the Apple keyboard has 4 main rows rather than 3.
Sooo, maybe using the basic approach of the TB (3 rows and layers), it is worth looking at what the "best" vertical distance should be.
I can certainly see a possibility that more distance could reduce errors, simply because there is more room between keys. I'm not talking about a big change. It might be such that instead of three rows being less than 2 rows on the apple keyboard, it would be exactly the same as 2.
I have no idea what could or may not be better. But I can certainly see that some research into this could be quite interesting. Or if WT licenses the basic concept so different companies come up with their own variations on the main theme. Might be surprising what we learn about the "best" key sizes.