We've noticed this too, as the problem of transforming a 3D idea stored in your brain into a 2D representation on a flat screen is often difficult. We agree that new interfaces, like the AnarkikAngels haptic controller and the 3D Connexion SpaceNavigator will make things much easier as the become more popular.
It seems every software vendor is migrating their products into the cloud. Some make the transition easily (email) and others, especially those requiring a lot of power, haven't yet migrated (CAD, or anything much 3D for that matter). But as the power and price of hardware continue to get better, we're going to see moves in this direction. Of course, the first attempts will be totally feeble and attract some laughs. But that's just the first step. You won't be laughing later.
Exploiting video game technology
Certainly video cards have massively increased the power available at the desktop. Not only have the graphics become more powerful, but recently work has been emerging to harness all the unused graphics processing cycles on those cards and put them to work doing other more general purpose processing. Maybe we should cancel the cloud idea above?
We get the impression that the Solidworks guys are increasingly favorable towards 3D printing, based on John Hirschtick's statement:
If you haven't seen 3D printing lately, you haven't seen it. There have been amazing improvements in color, speed and quality of the models, and the cost of models is going down.We agree, and there's lots more to come.