If you want a glimpse into what the future has in store for us in regards to the mundane and mostly utilitarian world of clothes cleaning appliances, the Whirlpool Vantage Vantage Washer & Dryer may very well be it. We saw these in person a few months back at CES behind closed doors and were impressed with many of the design and tech details offered by these future flagship models.
The Whirlpool Vantage front glows with the alluring glow of a LCD touch screen interface, which also offers the industry's first USB port, a feature meant for firmware, software cleaning program updates for specific fabrics/stains, and other future customization options.
We weren't able to throw in our own soiled duds to try out the machine, but we did like the touchscreen interface and other small details like internal LED lighting for easier laundry inspection and the very beautiful sparkling automotive paint finish that gave these machines a premier appeal. The dryer also monitors the dampness of articles thrown in and adjust energy use to match, possibly saving power use throughout the lifetime of use. On a related energy efficient tip, the touchscreen monitor documents energy and water over the course of the month, providing energy use feedback. Smart appliance leads to smarter use, at least that's the logic behind all these user feedback (sort of like the Prius and it's fuel use GUI).
The LCD screen also offers access to specially programmed wash cycles for athletic wear, baby items, stuffed animals, jeans, bath mats, shower curtains, shoes and swim wear, so whatever you throw into it should be handled without a problem. Now if they would only add wi-fi/internet notification (Twitter your load is finished?) and an internal webcam so we can watch the spin cycle...