April 12, 2012, 11:43 AM — Yesterday, at Intel's Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing, we were told that the next wave of Ultrabooks will start at $699. These new, less-expensive, skinny laptops are just around the corner, apparently. But how is that low price-point possible? I've got the answers, in The Long View...
By Richi Jennings.
[Updated: More about battery life and price]
Ultrabook -- for which Intel claims a trademark -- is still a pretty amorphous concept. Intel wraps it up in so much aspirational-marketing mumbo-jumbo that it's hard to tie it down. The cynical shorthand description would be a PC like an Apple MacBook Air. The longform rubric goes something like this:
Thin and light; sexy design
Long battery life (at least five hours, preferably eight)
Fast resume (less than seven seconds)
Decent performance Intel CPU/GPU (22nm Ivy Bridge in 2012 designs)
So, yes, "a PC like a MacBook Air" is a good enough shorthand. But Apple's cheapest Air is a relatively-eye-watering $1000, not the $700 that Intel's describing. The difference can't be simply the much-argued-over "Apple tax," so how can Intel be so confident saying 2012's Ultrabooks will start $300 below that base price?
In this article, I've brought together my thoughts and analysis. (Although I've not been able to resist some gentle mockery of that most curious of species, the Apple fanbois.)