Two Intel representatives are claiming that the features, price point, and operating system of the Ultrabooks set to release in the near future will beat out Apple’s MacBook Air and iPad.
Intel is claiming that the products coming from the company’s Ultrabook initiative are not only more functional than Apple’s iPad but that they also represent a better value than the MacBook Air, for which the company currently supplies processors for. Both the product manager, Anand Kajshmanan and media relations representative Alison Wesley sat down to discuss Intel’s vision of what the Ultrabook represents and why the company is investing so heavily into it.
According to the two, "'Ultra' means pinnacle, and we wanted the Ultrabook to be the pinnacle of everything that users have come to expect from their computing device," the representatives said. "So we did extensive research into what users' expectations were for their mobile computing devices, and there were four things that really stood out."
The purpose behind the product is to have an “ultra-responsive” portable device that is secure and has great battery life. The company feels that the power of the Ultrabook initiative lies not only in the platform but also in the variety of devices that will be available, which it calls a “plethora of choices.” When asked about the MacBook Air, the two noted that the Air was also powered by an Intel Core processor and shares some of the same attributes the company plans to present in the Ultrabook, therefore representing a “great choice for someone who wants to invest in the Mac operating system.”
One of the key differentiators between the MacBook Air and the Ultrabook will be the price of entry, which is where Intel believes that they can bring the most value to the table by driving down the traditionally high price of each device down to reach what they referred to as “mainstream price points.” According to them, there is “the $300-million Intel capital fund to kick start this innovation” and they are looking to work with their partners to supply a lot more volume, which in turn will help reduce the cost of the product.
Intel did seem to dismiss the iPad because it feels that a tablet doesn’t have the tactile feedback that comes with a keyboard. It doesn’t sound like a wise-move to write off something as successful as the iPad but at the same time, the company didn’t write off touch input altogether, they actually feel that touch-screens will continue to be a huge selling point in 2012 and 2013. The upcoming Ultrabooks will be sporting designs that can transform from the clamshell form factor into a tablet, with the premise of being a big seller. Although similar products have been available for some time, Intel’s think and light format seeks to make the whole idea much more portable.
The future of the Ultrabook remains a mystery and many analysts don’t see the product line generating the sales that Intel is hoping to see. Meanwhile, Apple continues their successful run with the MacBook Air line, which previously accounted for 28% of the company’s notebook shipments. In addition to the MacBook Air sales, the company also continues to see strong sales for its iPad, which analysts continue to predict growth for in 2012. People do consider price being an important factor in a purchase though - if Intel can make the price point affordable and attractive, they might end up seeing the success they seek.