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back to article Analysts slash Ultrabook sales estimate by over 50%

Analyst house IHS iSuppli has slashed its forecast for Ultrabook sales by more than half for this year, and the outlook for 2013 could hardly be described as rosy, as well. Earlier in the year, iSuppli predicted that 22 million of the svelte laptops would ship by the end of 2012, but it's now cut that forecast to 10.3 million. …

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Well who would have thought it?

""So far, the PC industry has failed to create the kind of buzz and excitement among consumers that is required to propel ultrabooks into the mainstream" said Craig Stice, senior principal analyst".

Well one can certainly see why he is a senior principal analyst (yes, that was irony :)). Indeed, he is a veritable font of wisdom.

"When combined with other factors, including prohibitively high pricing, this means that ultrabook sales will not meet expectations in 2012."

Never mind of course the very mediocre specs that you get for the money. RegHardware's review of the HP Spectre XT for example - magisterially dismissed by the first poster with "1366x768.... next...".

Yet more wisdom.

"especially with fierce competition from new mobile computing gadgets such as the iPhone 5, Kindle Fire HD and forthcoming Microsoft Surface."

The only relevant device here in his list, if we are talking high-end computers (not phones), is the Win 8 Pro version of the "Surface". We note the fact that (according to all the reports at least) it has fine build quality, pretty highly specced and has a high-res screen. If however we look at the various tablet announcements from the OEMs it is not obvious to me that they are going to do any different with their tablet offerings than they have with their ultra-books. Over-priced, underspecced, and soon to be over here - no doubt raising the same kind of yawn that their "thinnies" have been raising. Common factor IMO? The OEMs won't contribute shit to growing a market. They've had two decades or more cruising on the back of Windows doing bugger all other than "banging out boxes" and they see no reason to change their habits now - and absolutely no reason to accept lower margins at the outset to establish a market. I am not surprised that Redmond decided to build "benchmarks" themselves with the two versions of the Surface, they must have strongly suspected what they and we are going to see on the market this Autumn.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well who would have thought it?

Pretty much I agree with you. One small correction I would make is when you say OEMs were cruising on the back of Windows. Let's just say they were slowly marching on foot at the back of Windows wagon. Microsoft never allowed them to breathe properly or to step out of the line. As for accepting lower margins, I don't think they can get much lower than they are now, which is razor-thin. Anyway they stopped innovating and abandoned the idea of quality for their products a long time ago so that's they are in this position now.

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AC 2nd October 04:14 As far as conventional boxes are concerned...........

................I would agree with you - their margins are very thin because the vast majority of such kit is at the low-end and medium-low-end price points. However, the x86 tablets are most unlikely to turn up at those price points any time soon. It is not (from my point of view) first and foremost the price-points concerned, it is what they are willing to supply at those price points that is the question. Judging by what we have seen so far it has been, in relation to what they have been willing to offer, rather shabby. As far as Redmond's influence is concerned I think that can be exaggerated in this context. They do not remotely have the same influence that an original producer/designer like Apple, by definition, has and I do not think that they deserve being excused on those grounds. One of the reasons why Vista (in addition to it's own intrinsic failings which were considerable) ended up selling relatively poorly was word of mouth amongst the punters when they "experienced" the appalling kit that the OEMs released it on - 1Gb RAM anyone? A very large number of those boxes were in practice a fraud perpetrated on the punter given that they were in no way capable of doing very much more than get the os out of bed in the morning. That was most definitely not in Redmond's interests at the time and I do not see how the OEMs can escape their responsibilities for what they did. They are fully capable of being short-sighted and greedy without any help from MS.

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Re: Well who would have thought it?

I agree, though actually I think a lot of the tablet offerings are tablet/touch versions of netbooks, rather than "ultrabooks" (or high end ultra-portables), so I think they are learning. (The proposed prices might be higher than netbooks, but that's to be expected with additional features of touchscreen and being a tablet hybrid - they still seem cheaper than high end ultrabooks.)

I.e., they're mainly going for things like Atom and lower resolutions, but doing so at a lower cost, because that's good enough for most people. The Surface is one of the few going with high end specs - and thankfully yes, it's also matched with a high resolution.

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Re: AC 2nd October 04:14 As far as conventional boxes are concerned...........

I can't agree enough with this, I am still trying to explain to people that Vist (while not great) was nowhere as bad as the experience they had on the sh1tbox they bought...

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$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ matter...

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Meh from me for sure. For the price of an ultrabook, I can have at least 2 decent-specced laptops with more ports and a DVD writer. Or one of them; an SSD and quite a lot of change.

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Meh

Simples.....

And it doesn't take an analyst with his head up his arse to figure this one out.

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"PC buyers are more thifty." I always thought there was something funny about them. apple buyers are of course thiftless.

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Come on, let's have a real advance ...

I'd buy a machine that size and shape like a shot, if it had E-ink screen, ARM processor, and really sensible battery life.

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Re: Come on, let's have a real advance ...

An e-ink screen with a screen refresh rate of twice a second if you're lucky? Not really?

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Blame the stupid name

They should have called them "MegaComp's", or "SuperTops", like i thought last year.

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Anonymous Coward

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise!

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No money left after paying for iPhone ?

Oops ..

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FAIL

All Ultrabooks seem to fail.

Every review for an ultrabook starts off pretty good, they look nice etc. then they fail due to one or two bizarre penny pinching corners cut, which on a £800+ machine just seems really stupid.

Such as -

Low res, cheap TN screen.

No USB3.0

Only 4GB of ram.

Intel only graphics.

Stupidly large 5400rpm HDD

Stupidly small SSD

Doesnt anyone in the Ultrabook design dept. sit down and think..."Is that really the best choice at that price?"

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Re: All Ultrabooks seem to fail.

That's not their concern. What they aim to achieve when designing a notebook is something that does what it says on the tin, but 'looks' amazing.

Depending on how you use them, ultrabooks can be both sheeeeeeyite and amazing. It's purely a case of what you buy one for.

If anyone were to buy a notebook PC for any practical use (programming, video/image editing and so on), they would certainly use their brain and NOT buy an ultrabook. They're simply aimed at people who don't consider what they're actually buying because it looks cool.

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Re: All Ultrabooks seem to fail.

OOI, where can you get the specs you want with the size/portability of ultrabooks? Are there other high end portables that do?

(Personally I'm happy with netbooks for portability, and a less portable high spec laptop for my main use - but it seems odd to criticise a device for not having enough power, when the only laptops with that extra power don't have the same portability. It's not a fair comparison.)

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Holmes

Ultrabook Spec

In my view, ultrabooks won't succeed until they have touchscreens installed. users graduating from tablets to something with a proper keyboard spend ages prodding the screen and getting frustrated with it. I can only imagine that this will become unbearable on Windows 8.

So, OEMs: Make an ultrabook in the same form factor but touch-enable the screen. And yes, when I say "the same form factor" I do mean "don't delete the trackpad you cheapskates".

OEMs are also being pretty dim generally. With BYOD becoming increasingly prevalent, OEMs need to appeal to individuals, which means sexy designs, not corporates and their relentless bottom-line chasing.

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Holmes

Meh

Is an Ultrabook an iPad?

No?

Then no one gives a shit, it's just a thin expensive laptop. They can try to market the Ultrabook term all they like everyone else just sees a L.A.P.T.O.P

Directors and managers want iPads, it doesn't matter that for most they don't make much business sense, Ultrabook isn't even on the radar. If they're getting a laptop they're just upset about it not being an iPad and don't really care which laptop it is.

IT people might care, I've found in general they're not that keen on tablets for work, but they're only ever going to get cheap laptops anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

Same laptop but at twice the price compared to the one that just sits close to it.

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*boggle*

So millions, growing to tens of millions is a runaway success if it's Apple (referenced here with devices that have nothing to do with high-end laptops, as someone points out above), but a "cock-up" if it's Intel?

Also remember that Intel win on every x86 laptop sold (whether or not it's their "Ultrabook" brand), and will also do so on the competing MS Surface or x86 tablets too. The "Ultrabook" is just a way to add to this - partly marketing (simply to sell more x86 laptops), but also financial (since they also apparently get a bigger cut for each one sold). Seems pretty sensible to me.

Plus, what's wrong with selling less but with a higher profit margin? That's what the Apple fans tell us is great about Apple, isn't it? It may be that far more people are buying sub-£500 less portable but still good enough x86 laptops, but I can see the point that they don't make as much profit. This way Intel get the best of both worlds - large sales, but also additional profits from high end premium products. Indeed that's the way a lot of markets work - get the profits from the people buying the high end products, then get mass market with the lower end.

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Boggles Indeed

You mean that finally sheep have stopped buying overpriced shite just because it's thin? See while that's good news that so many people are finally wising up to the fact that a grand for a mediocre laptop is an utter waste of cash, but it doesn't explain why Apple fanbois are still willing to part with even more just because their laptop has a glowing half-eaten apple stuck on the lid. Maybe that's it.. maybe the wintel crowd need to put a half-eaten glowing banana on the back, install a fancy version of unix with a gui interface and call the OS Intel OS 11.2 Feral Goat.

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FAIL

Usual old-school arrogant Intel playbook spectacularly failed...

...because with plethora of choices nobody wants to buy an overpriced shiny laptop with CRAPPY integrated Intel video (yes, HD 4000 is where mobile graphics industry was 5 years ago), CRAPPY screen with CRAPPY resolution and MEDIOCRE CPU.

It's not 2002 but 2012, dear Intel, no more junk at ripoff prices, sorry.

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