@Rick, after using W8 (sparingly when my wife lets me) I find it on a desktop a dichotomy. Part PC, part Tablet. Now on a Surface RT and phones which operate as a tablet, the tablet part makes sense. On a PC, I don't think the Start Screen is anything but a 'gimick'. I didn't see anything on it that was needed, other then the desktop live tile? Yeah, I can build 'live tiles' for any program I wish, but that to me was MS's way of keeping me on the Start Screen. If I can launch any program and return start screen it all works for MS. In this case a Tablet and PC would 'look' the same. Feel, no way... Tablet apps will be ALL touch, PC apps may never be, will remain mouse driven (with a keyboard, but many tablet apps require a keyboard for serious input).
When you look at the various PC/Tablets out there, they do double duty, true, but sometimes you need 'uni-tools' which generally work better than multi-taskers. An iPad or any other tablet, provided it has the mix of apps you need, will probably be better at the job, lighter in weight, and have better battery life and any multi-tasker PC/Tablet machines.
That said, at some point in the future this WILL come to pass. All you'll probably want/need is Tablet possibly.
Consider yesterday when people took Camcorders and a camera on vacation... go back a decade or 2 and they camcorders were heavy and bulky, and the camera used film or very low pixel count. Today, my digital camera takes HD video and only limited by the size of the SD card I put in it. Ion Lithium batteries provide long usage, as do ones that have changeable batteries.
That is a good analogy on the possible state change on PC's.
I got a Dell catalog today. They have an ALL-IN-ONE touch screen that has a LOW angle on the display so you can basically look down on it. I'd surely prefer to do that with live tile content rather than have to move my arm up to eye-level and stretch across a keyboard to make something happen.
As for things 'dispensed with', who decided and why? What might not be important to you could be for me. I want that network map... and I'll probably get a 3rd party app to do it.