As tech speeds inexorably forward, many gadgets and services will be left in heaps on the roadside. Problem is, we'll truly miss some of them.

Technology moves so quickly, that gadgets introduced today and usually obsolete within in a few years, in favour of new improved items.

But we don't necessarily think change is always a good thing. Here are 10 tech items whose days are numbered, and we're going to miss them all - though some more than others - when they're gone.

1. MP3 players

Sure, we'll still have portable devices that can play MP3s, but a few years from now they'll all be mobile phones.

Even the once-mighty iPod is no longer a growth product for Apple; in fact, iPod sales are now declining in double-digit percentages.

It probably won't be long before Apple gives up on the thing, what with the far fatter profit margin that the iPhone offers, but consumers will lose out in the bargain.

After all, wouldn't it be nice to listen to a song or two on the train without having to pay £45 a month?

2. Optical drives

Suppose that you need to install some software on several computers. You could download a copy from an FTP site, copy it to a thumb drive, and then carry that thumb drive from one computer to another, pausing at each waystation for drivers to install and for Windows to recognise the thing.

Or you could grab a labelled, archivable application CD, pop it into each computer's optical drive, and handle the task that way (assuming that they have such a drive).

And don't get us started on the agony of trying to watch a movie on your laptop without having a drive on your laptop.

3. The mouse

A funny thing happened this year. Computer manufacturers got it into their heads that people would rather lift their entire arm up off the table and draw on their screen with their fingers instead of using a touchpad or mouse as they have for the past 25 years.

Blame the iPhone, of course. Multitouch went from the next big thing to the big thing right now, all because of that blasted device - and despite the fact that a phone in your hand and a mammoth laptop on your desk have virtually nothing in common.

We'll miss the mouse (here's its history so far). What's next? Putting multitouch into a table? Wait, don't answer that.

NEXT PAGE: Phones that don't do everything

  1. We'll miss these gadgets when they're gone
  2. Phones that don't do everything
  3. Pay phones