back to article Early verdict on Intel Ultrabook™ push: FAIL

Intel's much-ballyhooed ultrabook effort is not working out quite as well as Chipzilla had hoped, with global sales of the thin and light laptops falling well behind expectations. "The volume isn't there and it's going to be way below what Intel had hoped for," IDC analyst Jay Chou told CNET on Wednesday. Intel's vision of …

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  1. LarsG
    Headmaster

    It goes to show that consumers have become more canny and see through the advertising spiel.

    Maybe it will be a question of wether to return to the drawing board and stop thinking 'if we build they will buy'.

    The consumer is a thinking entity not a lemming.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Could it be that the consumer wants a laptop with nothing taken out, namely sufficient connectability, a decent sized HD and DVD player as standard, rather than the stripped down things they are trying to sell us.

      We want more for less, not less for more, and most of us don't care it will be a few mm thicker.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Where's the tablet with a DVD drive then?

        Mass market optical media won't be around much longer. It's slow, noisy and bulky.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Where's the tablet with a DVD drive then?

          'Where's the tablet with a DVD drive then?'.

          Tablets are not laptops they are a different thing altogether, DVD is not part of its DNA.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Where's the tablet with a DVD drive then?

            CD/DVD is dying out - can you imagine swinging your tablet around with a spinning disk inside it and how much larger it would make it - these tablets are almost all battery as it is - so adding a CD/DVD drive would make it a chunky beast.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Clearly you have never seen one - the MBA is not just a few mm thinner. At it's thickest it's 1.7cm and tapers all the way down to 3mm at it's thinnest part and weighs just over 1kg. Compared to almost all the laptops I have used before - in volume terms it is probably 1/2 to a 1/3 the size and weight.

        It's not for everyone but it sells well as it meets a need that a lot of people have. It's not the cheapest laptop but it's competitive with all these others copying it and even plugged into a desk it runs Lion fine on a 27" display and Windows 7 runs fine under either bootcamp or in a VM under Parallels.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agreed- But...

        I still think there's a market for say 20-25% of people who are prepared to compromise on Optical disk and storage for portability.

        The segment obviously exists (or the MBA would have gone off sale) but it isn't perhaps as big as Intel think it is?

        This surprises me though as I'd have thought they'd have been able to work out from what they ship to Apple a good estimate of what their product mix was.

        Personally I use an MBA and don't find the loss of an optical drive to be a major issue, though lack of SSD capacity hurts a little - I'm fine but only have 8gb of space to play with - which by any worthwhile capacity plan is just that bit too tight.

        Equally 'er indoors has a 13in MBP and my son uses a MBP 15in at uni and both chose them over the air (one for optical drive and the other for storage capacity), so in this house at least market share is 33% (how unscientific is that!).

      4. toadwarrior

        Except your claims do not explain why the mac air's sales continue to rise.

        I think it's more that both MS and the hardware companies have relied on doing shit on the cheap with windows bloated out with adware and bugs and that's what people now expect. It doesn't matter if they copy apple. If anything it will validate a consumer's idea that apple is the best because everyone copies them.

    2. joejack
      FAIL

      Absolutely. I love the idea of an Ultrabook, but they're severely underspec'd and overpriced. How many ultrabooks out there with at least

      8GB RAM

      256GB SSD

      1440x900 or better screen resolution

      Core i7

      USB3 or eSATA

      SDXC card slot

      ...that're cheaper than a comparable Macbook Air?

      1. Lallabalalla

        joejack, you've missed the point.

        Your answer is probably "none" - but so what. Go buy a macbook air like everyone else. Clearly no-one can compete on quality at below the price point. Better "specs" maybe but the question always is: Is a "better" computer which no longer works actually better than a "worse" one which still runs like new some years later? The answer's always no.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You can get a 13" Macbook Air with a Core i7, 8Gb RAM, up to 512Gb flash it has the 1440 x 900 screen, USB 3 and the SDXC slot - for a tiny machine it's packs a pretty decent spec. The video speed is decent but it's not a heavy duty gaming rig - but there again a heavy duty gaming rig does not slip into your backpack, weight little over 1Kg, run for hours off an internal battery etc.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          "You can get a 13" Macbook Air with a Core i7, 8Gb RAM, up to 512Gb flash it has the 1440 x 900 screen, USB 3 and the SDXC slot - for a tiny machine it's packs a pretty decent spec."

          Only thing is it costs about the same as the entry level macbook pro retina edition which has a smaller (256GB) SSD, same memory, but double the cores, way higher clock speed, discrete graphics and that screen. £50 cheaper and 650g heavier. It'd be nice if the costings didn't overlap like that as it completely detracts from the Air principally due to the extreme overcharging for the SSD. £400 for 256GB upgrade of soldered on chips?

      3. N13L5
        Facepalm

        Goods start, I agree with your specs, but I think you're missing about half of the necessary features!

        If its ultra portable with less features, it had better work outdoors AND in the dark, so:

        1) non-reflective, bright displays are a must.

        2) keyboard with backlight

        Then, if its gonna be so portable, it had better be able to connect in places without WiFi...

        3) needs to have an option for 3G, UMTS etc, like a GOBI 2000 combo with world wide connectivity.

        Also, at around 1000 bucks, we don't want those things to be annoying,

        4) a fairly quiet cooling system is needed

        Since most come without optical drive, it needs to be easy to connect one concurrently with a mouse, so

        5) three USB 3.0 connectors should be obvious.

        At this point, its actually impossible to find all of this in one ultrabook. I know, cause I tried. I could not find what I wanted, so I didn't buy one yet. Who wants to spend over a thousand bucks and still end up with a compromise thats not dictated by whats possible, but simply cause manufacturer's aren't flexible enough in offering configuration. Dell pretty much cut configurability out of ultrabooks. There's nothing you can configure, just add mice and bags and insurance. Most of them do not offer a glare type and a matte display. That should be a no brainer, to at least offer it. Not all consumers are retarded, people buy their mirrors at Bed & Bath.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It goes to show that consumers, and companies even more so, are not will to pay more than they have to for what is still a Windows PC. It is a pure commodity market. Low bid always wins.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well...

      "The consumer is a thinking entity not a lemming."

      No, it's not that; it's that the Apple has already managed to monopolize the lemming supply.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well...

        @No, it's not that; it's that the Apple has already managed to monopolize the lemming supply.'

        Unmask yourself Anonymous Coward!

        But never a truer sentence said.

        1. Lallabalalla
          Gimp

          Re: Well...

          What utter BS.

          Is there *any* possibility that high volumes of sales are directly attributable to the quality of the product (hint - the answer is "yes")

          Or are the millions of Zafira owners in fact "lemmings" rather than families who have realised that a 5/7 seater with a massive boot and ample roof space with an economical engine and all the niceties like ABS, aircon & blah perfectly meets their needs despite its few shortcomings? Substitute any product here for Zafira and when you get around to trying "iMac" for size try not to be blinded by the giant flash of prejudice that will doubtless have you reashing for the thumbs-down button like some Pavlovian pooch...

          1. tybalt

            Re: Well...

            Zafiras - awful things (the first generation at least). The 1.8 petrol gave terrible fuel economy and it drove like a dog. The ride quality was awful. I've had a few as hire cars, and they were among the worst. Only beaten out by a Chevy Matiz which appeared to have brakes made of chocolate. The Focus 1.6 auto is also in my top five worst cars ro drive too - utterly and totally gutless, thanks to a shit 4 speed auto and very little power.

            1. Pete B

              Re: Well... @tybait

              I see your Chevy Matiz and raise you a Vauxhall Insignia - just had one as a hire car and easily the worst thing I've ever driven.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: massive boot

            Zafiras are horrible things. And the massive boot is taken up by the rear most of the seven seats.

            I've got a Galaxy myself.

            I'm not sure how they compare in price / numbers, but they are a far superior car.

          3. Ian Johnston Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: Well...

            If the quality is so high, how come all Apple laptop sales put together are about a fifteenth of the total market?

            1. Lusty Silver badge

              Re: Well...

              "Re: Well...

              If the quality is so high, how come all Apple laptop sales put together are about a fifteenth of the total market?"

              Because most people are too poor to buy apple products so they settle for a bigger, lower quality pc laptop. Apple don't need 90% market share as they are a high margin product company who focus on quality rather than quantity. This is similar to the way that very few people eat at Michelin star restaurants. It's not that they choose not to, it's just that McDonald's is more within budget.

              1. a53

                Re: Well...

                It's not that they choose not to, it's just that McDonald's is more within budget."

                Never eaten at a McDonalds and never will. I'd rather eat at home 6 months of the year so I can afford a treat at a high quality restaurant. The wait makes the meal even more memorable.

      2. CheesyTheClown
        Thumb Down

        Hey, I'm one of those lemmings!

        When the new Mac books arrived, I bought an old mac book air at a discount. Saved nearly $200 and the machine specs are basically the same as the new one.

        That said, I immediately deleted OS X from the machine, installed Windows 7 pro and have loved it since. I did try to get a refund for OS X, but it appears the money they "Charge" for it isn't enought to justify asking for a refund ;(

        Quit busting on us lemmings!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you actually used one you would realise how good the MBA is - I have to carry a laptop around all the time - it's a fast, quiet, small and light laptop - rugged, well made, good screen, flash storage. For what I require it ticks a lot of the right boxes. Sure it's not going to run the latest 3D games at 60 FPS but it's not what it's designed for - would be like whinging your 2 seater sports car was rubbish at carting the whole family, a weeks worth of clothes and the dog...

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Crap keyboard

        I've tried to use the MBA as well as other current Apple products.

        Anything with an Apple keyboard attached simply sucks great big donkey balls.

        I've had durable and reliable laptops from PC vendors before. I realize that they aren't some myth. I also realize that Apple hardware breaks too. I've seen it for myself. Usability and capability would come first, then followed by the things that Apple users value.

        So it is little surprise that what might go over well in the Apple enclave might not work so well for the rest of the market.

        We've already done that netbook thing already.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Crap keyboard

          I've had durable and reliable laptops from PC vendors before.

          Indeed. I've had numerous Thinkpads (courtesy of my employer), and they've all been extremely durable and reliable. I still have a Lenovo L-series Thinkpad that's about six years old that I still use occasionally, and an IBM R-series that's about nine years old that I fire up once in a while. My personal laptop is a three-year-old Lenovo Thinkpad that hasn't been any trouble. I've also had a couple of Dell Latittudes that, while never my favorite machines (Dell always manages to work in some bizarre minor design fault), have been quite reliable; the first did eventually need a keyboard replacement, but only after three years.

          These are my primary work machines, aside from the one personal-use laptop (and that I use for my academic work, so it's doing similar stuff). They're in use for thousands of hours a year. They get carried around and abused - more than once I've dropped or knocked a Thinkpad onto a hard floor. They're doing heavy work: builds and test runs with lots of I/O and a fair bit of computation.

          On the other hand, my wife and daughter are Apple fans, and I can't count how many times we've had to replace or repair an Apple desktop or laptop. Quite a few, anyway.

          Anecdotal evidence doesn't count for much, but it certainly shows that there are quality PC laptops available.

    6. Euripides Pants Silver badge

      consumers, lemmings, thinking

      The consumer *is* a lemming, the human is a thinking entity.

  2. pixl97

    Low interest

    Not very many people I know are interested in the Ultrabooks. Most of them have a tablet or smart phone as their true portable, and then have a larger laptop that's a luggable desktop replacement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Low interest

      That's very true, I always used to prefer smallish laptops for their portability, but now that there are real pocketable computers it's more appealing to have a full-size laptop that covers 80% of my previous laptop use, and also eliminates the need for a desktop machine. The 20% of truly portable use can almost all be handled by a mobile device.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Low interest

      They are even more the market - people will use tablets and then not be content with a heavy, bulky laptop. Guess the solution is a keyboard / mouse / trackpad for a tablet to turn it into a laptop or stick with your tablet and have an ultra notebook.

      I'm guessing most people who have laptops do not lug them around all that much (as you would want something smaller and lighter) - many I see are near-permanently on desks - it's not a criticism it's actually good sense. I saw a place where they all had laptops and locked them all away at night as they frequently got broken into and the cost / time to get working again was too high and getting a lot of extra security and a guard was far more expensive than buying new laptops for the 10-15 staff.

  3. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    Did you stretch the Ultrabook photo horizontally...

    ...to fit the same format as the Macbook photo, or is that how it came from Intel?

    Because, clearly, it HAS been stretched, making (intentionally or purposefully) the Ultrabook look thinner in proportion to its length.

    If El Reg did it, that's sloppy, if Intel did it, that's lying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Did you stretch the Ultrabook photo horizontally...

      It got stretched so much the headphone jack got round again or....?

      1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

        Re: Re: Did you stretch the Ultrabook photo horizontally...

        "It got stretched so much the headphone jack got round again or....?"

        Read my post again; the MacBook photo (BOTTOM of the comparison pair) has NOT been stretched. The Ultrabook (TOP of the pair) has.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Did you stretch the Ultrabook photo horizontally...

      > Because, clearly, it HAS been stretched, making (intentionally or purposefully) the Ultrabook look thinner in proportion to its length.

      The ultrabook photo is showing the front edge, thus it shows the _width_ of the device. The Macbook photo is of the side, showing the length from front to back.

      The ultrabook does look thinner because the photo has a very shallow depth of field so anything beyond the front edge blurs out and also is lost by perspective.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Did you stretch the Ultrabook photo horizontally...

        Further to that, Apple probably has a design patent on a photo of a hand holding a laptop showing its side view, so Intel had to show the front view.

      2. Goat Jam
        Holmes

        Re: Did you stretch the Ultrabook photo horizontally...

        You can tell it is stretched because both photo's use the exact same stock photo for the hand. If you ignore the different colour saturations and the stretching effect, you can see that the skin details are identical between the two.

        I beleive that the stretching was done by intel IIRC, it was discussed here when it was first published.

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Did you stretch the Ultrabook photo horizontally...

          I recall the discussion of it being a stock photo also. I still find it odd neither company could find a real person to actually hold one or even a mockup. Do hand models and photographers really charge so much money or is it just so much easier to hire a kid with photoshop?

          1. Franklin

            Re: Did you stretch the Ultrabook photo horizontally...

            "Do hand models and photographers really charge so much money or is it just so much easier to hire a kid with photoshop?"

            I used to have a client who was a hand model. Yes, they really do charge that much money. If I had the hands for it, I'd change careers in a heartbeat.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Did you stretch the Ultrabook photo horizontally...

        The macbook air is 1.7cm at it's thickest (back / hinge) and just 3mm at it's thinnest (front).

      4. Mike Moyle Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Did you stretch the Ultrabook photo horizontally...

        As someone else pointed out, the creases in the hands are (with allowances for the stretched horizontal axis) in exactly the same places. No two people's hands will do that. Grated that they COULD have used the same person both times but, even then, there are likely to be visible differences on different occasions. Secondly, bend your fingers and look at the "platform" that your bent knuckles make. If you are like most people, that platform makes a (more or less) right angle to the sides of the finger and the finger segment is (again, more or less) a rectangle -- it HAS to be, for the fingers to bend in one plane.

        Look at the "platform" at the bent knuckles in the pictures. In the MBA photo that platform is, essentially, a right angle, as it should be. Now look at the knuckles in the UB™ photo. The platform makes an oblique angle and the finger segments appear as more oblique parallelograms than rectangles. With the platform between the finger bones at that sort of angle, the fingers simply could not bend the way that they are shown. If you stretch a rectangle an angle to the axes, you get exactly that sort of oblique parallelogram

  4. asdf Silver badge
    Facepalm

    wow

    It must be nice to be able to weather billion+ dollar disasters like Intel and Microsoft (Ultrabooks, Itanium, Kin, Zune, Bing, etc) do all the time.

    1. Mark .

      Re: wow

      The Zune thing is a myth - sure, it didn't get to be number one, but that doesn't make it a complete flop. Unless you count the Iphone as a flop too, for being beaten by Symbian and now Android (or Nokia and now Samsung, by company). It's the same old story - MS get 10% in a market and it's a faiure, Apple get 10% in a market, and it's a runaway amazing success...

      For you comment in general, surely a company that never has failures, is one that never succeeds? Success often involves taking risks, and no one succeeds every time.

      1. Joerg
        FAIL

        Re: wow

        iPhone beaten by Symbian and Android? When that ever happened? Nokia is going bankrupt and they killed Symbian (which was a good OS much better than the Android fraud).

        Google Android sells a lot of cheap phones and that's it. Also 90% of those buying Android phones just don't buy apps at all. They either want everything for free or they avoid adding apps.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: wow

          You mean people are cheapskates? Otherwise there would not be a lot of free ad-ware in the Apple store.

          You can BS us about Macs. For phones it's a little harder. They are more widespread and they are subsidized. It's far more likely that one of us will know better and see through your nonsense.

          No. What I desire less with Android is not apps (or paid apps), it's jailbreaking. There is less reason to jailbreak and Android phone.

        2. Levente Szileszky
          FAIL

          Re: wow

          "iPhone beaten by Symbian and Android? When that ever happened?"

          Uhh, every single day since Gingerbread (2.3) shipped around the end of 2010 - how about reading up on the subject instead of posting stupid iCrap like this?

          "Google Android sells a lot of cheap phones and that's it."

          This comment clearly shows that you are clearly way too clueless (to put it mildly) to even argue about phones (forget market data)...

          "They either want everything for free or they avoid adding apps."

          ...yet you attempt it?

          The result is the classic ignorant and laughable iSnobbery... guess what: unlike Apple's "chic Gulag" (copyright J.P. Barlow) that's built on ripoff Android's ecosystem is actually built on free access at every level so it's fine with people not buying apps too.

          Of course, to grasp this concept it would require you to check facts but alas, I don't think it will happen anytime soon.

        3. N13L5
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: wow

          haha, Symbian was better than Android?

          Reality distortion much?

          I had 2 Symbian touch screen phones, they sucked, it was annoying to use...

          And then, remember the enormous expense of getting software "signed" to make it installable on a symbian phone, keeping all the small developers out of the market, so Telcos and a few big App makers wouldn't have to compete with independent start ups, cause of the very high cost just to enter the market?

          Nokia was making kneefall after kneefall to Telcos... Kept Skype off their phones for years to please Telcos.

          You think you got any reason to love Nokia over any other corporate foam whippers? All the same bunch of pricks. Microsoft is now trying to get worse than Crapple. May they all die in a fire :)

          Only reason Google gave us something more open, with zero software signing fees is, cause they could see a way to make money off causing a disruption to the established players. No reason to get emotionally attached to Google either, but they did tweak Telco's noses nicely. One of the reasons AT&T didn't hesitate throwing hundreds of millions at promoting Lumias with Micro$hufts locked down OS, in hopes to get people back in the cage.

      2. asdf Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: wow

        Just to soothe the 1 M$ fanboi in the room yes its nice Apple can weather flops like the Newton and Google can weather flops like Google+. Also I notice you mentioned Zune but didn't say anything about the Kin. WP7 is also in that list now for sure with WP8 coming out.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: wow

        MS get 10% in a market and it's a faiure

        When did the Microsoft Zune capture 10% of the market?

        "research firm NPD said Zune market share was a paltry 2% [in 2009], compared to the iPod's 70%" [1; also appears in 2]

        "IDC's Kevorkian said only 4.8% of those with a portable media player reported [in 2008] having a Zune, while 61% had some sort of iPod" [2]

        And it got worse, again according to NPD: "Apple’s iPod owned about three quarters of the 2010 MP3 player market, according to NPD, while Zune had about 1%" [3].

        The Zune video-streaming service did eventually capture around 18% of that market, apparently[3] - but that's not the Zune device.

        [1] http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/04/02/microsofts-zune-misstep-marks-the-gadget-road-not-taken

        [2] http://articles.marketwatch.com/2009-07-29/industries/30745050_1_zune-microsoft-s-entertainment-microsoft-shares/2

        [3] https://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/100411-microsoft-zune-dead-251552.html

        [4] http://wmpoweruser.com/microsoft-zune-eating-into-apples-market-share

  5. Jim McDonald
    Meh

    As the title says "early". To be fair, there aren't that many *new* Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks out yet - although in the last several weeks refreshes of Sandy Bridge versions have started to come online.

    Remember that Intel only launched the i7 Mobile Ivy Bridge and the i5 Mobile IB is just weeks old. So, the *really good stuff* (at the right price points) either hasn't been shipping very long or is yet to ship. Many have been announced/launched but some don't even have their prices confirmed.

    Case in point - I'm waiting for the Asus Transformer Book which they seem to be holding back for Win8 (IE October). I'd be happy with Win7 and buy one right now if I had the option (assuming the reviews are favourable, otherwise a Samsung Series 9 looks good too).

    However I wish Intel would spend their £250 of their £300M marketing fund on reducing the price they charge the manufacturers so they can hit decent price points! Ultrabooks are supposed to be circa $1,000 in theory yet Intel charge $250 of that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I won't buy

      I won't buy for a simple reason, same reason as I don't buy Mac air:

      Intel graphics. I really tested my limits of patience when I had to deal with a friends "white macbook".

      ATI (for better Linux support) or nvidia (if you don't care) are real gpus.

      1. karolbe
        WTF?

        Re: I won't buy

        That's funny because I would NEVER but laptop with ATI or nVidia for use with Linux.

        1. Ilgaz

          Re: I won't buy

          1 FPS in a game, no hardware T&L on osx which has hardware accelerated 2d for years. Let me continue?

          Oh, that was "old Intel gpu(!)". Let me say something who has used s3 chrome integrated graphics (so I am not a FPS freak): if you can't reliably produce something, don't use your illegal monopoly to push it to people. What does Sandy bridge support? Up to directx 9? Lets allow Intel junk gpu and tell developers use opengl 2 and directx 9 in 2012?

        2. Levente Szileszky
          FAIL

          Re: I won't buy

          That's even funnier because then you would NEVER be able to do anything meaningful in linux that requires any sort of proper 3D acceleration.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The MacBook contains Intel components (just as the iPad & iPhone contain Samsung components), so it is difficult to see this as a do or die struggle for Intel.

    1. Joseph Lord
      Holmes

      Intel don't care if you get an Ultabook or MBA (subject to the deal they cut with Apple being worse for them than standard and they don't want to depend on a single customer). They do care about the PC market as opposed to the tablet market, they also care the total market value so the high end is especially important.

      Intel's take can only be a percentage of the total value of the total PC market value.

      1. annodomini2
        Thumb Down

        Intel want UB's to succeed as while with MBA they have a large input and resultant profit, Intel own the standard for UB's and can dictate how much Intel tech is in the specification.

        They can also make a commission on the rights to a device being called Ultrabook.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          More importantly, I suspect, Intel see Apple has been successful at getting people to buy a new laptop earlier than they might otherwise have been, by marketing the MBA as significantly different from previous Mac laptops. They'd like to encourage Windows laptop users (and, yes, the relative handful of Linux users[1]) to upgrade early as well. So they're going to see if they can duplicate Apple's marketing ploy.

          "Oh, we see your customers like shiny. Maybe our customers will like shiny too!"

          [1] I occasionally have Linux running on one of laptop myself. Always in a VM, though, because that's simpler than taking even a little while to replace preinstalled Windows as the host OS.

    2. Levente Szileszky
      WTF?

      Apple is pretty far from being more than a single-digit number in...

      ...worldwide sales so let's stop with the crazy Kool-Aid comparos - Macbook sales arenot really a concern for Intel, that's for sure.

  7. batfastad
    FAIL

    Netbook

    I'm probably going to get panned here but for a truly portable computer a netbook beats an ultrabook every day of the week for me. Ok so not those early netbooks with only 2hr battery, big black bars around the screen, a poor excuse for an SSD and a cut-down OS.

    For example, my Asus 1005HA-P netbook... 2GB RAM, 1Kg, under A4 in size (slightly thicker than an ipad), VGA, ethernet, 4 USBs, webcam, SD card reader, WiFi, Bluetooth, 9hr battery life so enough for a day of airports and flights (even after 3 years I'm still getting 9hrs). So it's not got the most grunt in the world, but with Win XP it's decent enough for everything I need to do when travelling... Office XP goes like stink, VLC and MPHC play HD video, Firefox goes on the internet, Pidgin sends instant messages, Skype works, GIMP opens to resize/crop images etc.

    In addition to that I have an Acer Core i5 laptop, which could be the same spec as an ultrabook, about 1cm thicker, same width/length, has better connectivity*... all for 1/3rd of the price. The higher price and thinness of an ultrabook doesn't justify the 200%+ price differential over a normal laptop.

    * Needing stupid adaptors for ethernet and VGA/DVI connections is a complete joke. The last thing I want to be worrying about when travelling with, you know, a lightweight portable computer, is having to pack adaptors for essential connections like that. Fail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Netbook

      I love my netbook and I think the size of them is perfect for using on a train or plane with it's 10.1 inch screen, but the thing that lets it down for me is the screen resolution. 1024 x 600 isn't enough. It's a shame Asus never really looked into better screen resolutions for their netbooks because it's the only thing putting me off getting another. Aside from that they are fantastic machines for all the reasons listed above.

      The ultrabook pricing is madness and they are trying to ride on Apples Macbook Air coattails but it won't wash with the public who are brainwashed by clever Apple marketing to expect to pay 200 - 300 quid more for the Apple products compared to the equivalent from Dell or Asus so pricing them toe to toe is always going to fail

      1. Mark .

        Re: Netbook

        I agree about netbook resolutions - the weird thing is that the ASUS Transformer Prime does have a higher resolution, 1280x800. But that runs Android, which I'm not interested in. It seems odd to me that they think that Android has a higher need than Windows for higher resolutions - I would have said the reverse. It almost makes me wonder if there's something about Windows 7 Starter licensing that restricts what kind of devices it can be sold with...

        I only hope that the higher minimum resolution of Windows 8 might force an improvement. Though part of me worries that the obsession and hype of tablets - and the spec of netbooks remaining mostly stagnant - will make netbooks disappear.

    2. annodomini2

      Re: Netbook

      Prior to netbooks, the only small portable machines available were the very expensive high end business machines. The Ultrabooks of the day, generally sold to management and sales in businesses.

      After the launch of netbooks, I bet these sales dropped, as a netbook was adequate for their needs.

      Basically, they've shot themselves in the foot!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Netbook

      Essential for you is not essential for me - you may need to hook up to a DVI connector often - I don't. So the idea of carrying around a small adapter for the very rare times I may want to is no bother and if I can have a smaller, lighter laptop 'every' day I'll take that.

      So you really think you can find a laptop with the same spec / support and is as well made as a a Macbook Air for under £300 - don't forget it needs to have Thunderbolt as I *do* use that. What you can't - thought not.

      I'm not saying you can't get the same / better spec for less money but that's pretty obvious and pointless comparison.

      1. Oninoshiko

        Re: Netbook

        What the fuck do you use thunderbolt for? I have heard claims it's useful, I just haven't seen one. It's certainly not more useful then ethernet. (and no, if you think wifi make this obsolete, you haven't ever used hotel wifi)

        Is it a better spec? Maybe on paper it is, but the things that it's better at aren't what most people really need. In practice where it is lacking is what most people do need. Ofcourse I assume Intel's UB doesn't include ethernet either.

        Me? I use a netbook when on the road as well. It's better for what I need then an MBA.

        1. Steve Todd
          Stop

          Re: Netbook

          Oh, I don't know, what about desktop docking for a start? You can get your gig Ethernet connection, FireWire 800, extra USB ports and a full sized monitor by plugging in one cable.

          1. batfastad

            Re: Netbook

            So saves plugging in 4 cables? Is that it?

            1. Steve Todd
              Stop

              Re: Netbook

              Did you not read the bit about it giving you extra ports? Your laptop magically gives you a FireWire port when you connect it to a monitor? With Thunderbolt you keep all your existing ports and gain a batch of new ones.

              The problem with netbooks is twofold. Firstly crappy screens. Intel limited them to 1024x600 for no apparent reason. Sorry, in this day and age that just doesn't fly.

              The second problem is the horribly underpowered Atom CPU combined with Intel graphics, a recipe for poor performance if there ever was one. You really can't throw propper desktop apps at one (I've tried, it wasn't good).

            2. JEDIDIAH
              Linux

              Re: Netbook

              I would rather be able to ditch the docking station and have access to 100MB/s file transfers over GigE without having a lot of extra stuff to carry or without the need to turn my laptop into a desktop.

              If you have to argue that you can transform your portable device into something better with lots of OTHER gear, then you've missed the point entirely.

              Dongles are for 80s 8-bit computers.

              1. Steve Todd
                Stop

                Re: Netbook

                Have you seen the size of the Thunderbolt -> Gigabit Ethernet adaptor? Its tiny, the kind of thing you can stick in a pocket of your laptop bag and ignore until you need it.

              2. Steve Todd

                Re: Netbook

                Oh, and the argument is that you can transform your laptop into a reasonably capable desktop by connecting two cables (power and Thunderbolt), or hook up really high speed storage (try pushing 800MB/sec over USB).

                1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                  Re: Netbook

                  I can transform my laptop into a capable desktop by putting it on a desk.

                  Of course, I have no need or desire for an external monitor (I used multiple monitors with X11 back in the late '80s and early '90s; the thrill has worn off), or 800MB/s transfers to external storage, or any of the other tasks you seem to be plugging Thunderbolt for. Perhaps you do; that's swell. But I'm with batfastad on this one, and I suspect we're not the only ones.

                  1. Steve Todd
                    Stop

                    Re: Netbook

                    Then you either have a large, not very portable laptop or you don't do work that requires significant amounts of screen real-estate. There are very few laptops that can match a 2560x1440 monitors resolution, non at all that have a 27"+ screen. Not all, but a huge proportion of laptop users at least have a desktop monitor because of this.

                    Given the complaint was that 1GB ethernet was NEEDED in order to shift data at 100MB/sec (by the time you knock network overheads off you'll be luck to hit 80MB/sec anyway), people who use HUGE files, like video for example, need to be able to archive it faster than that.

                    Final point, this isn't about what you personally want from a laptop, its about what there is a significant demand for. Given the number of Windows laptops that come with docking ports and port replicators you have to admit that there's a demand.

      2. batfastad

        Re: Netbook

        Ultrabook smaller and lighter than a netbook? Err no. Thinner at the thinnest point perhaps and the same mass as a netbook. But larger total volume due to being wider and longer.

        My big laptop still only weighs 1.8Kg, Core i5, 6GB memory, SSD, about 2.5cm high. No Thunderbolt but USB 3. And cost £400... It's not an ultrabook.

        The advantage of an ultrabook over a decent spec low profile normal laptop just isn't worth 2x the price. And certainly not worth 3x the price of a netbook.

  8. GrantB
    Trollface

    Microsoft Surface

    The MS Surface Pro (the proper Windows 8 version) is supposed to cost about as much as an Ultrabook on release, but with a slightly smaller screen and more limited keyboard and connectivity.

    But I am sure it will be a roaring success in comparison because... ?

    1. Mark .

      Re: Microsoft Surface

      Well hang on, if you want a portable, the smaller screen is a good point, surely. Indeed, one reason I don't like the high end ultra-portables is because my Samsung netbook is actually smaller. For some reason it seems impossible to get any non-Atom based PC with less than 11", and the MS Surface looks to be the first one to do that.

      Admittedly, you may have a point that it's a bad sign if most consumers aren't interested in high end ultra-portables, but then they also have the lower end ARM version. And the point of the Surface isn't to sell the most - it's like the Google Android phones, they're just there to set a high end standard. If it happens that most Windows 8 sales are from cheaper lower spec machines, MS still gain from that.

      I just wish manufacturers would improve the low end of the market more - if we can have phones with HD resolutions and 2GB RAM, why are the 10" netbooks still stuck at 1024x600 with 1GB I wonder...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to get real

    No one with a clue would buy an over-priced under performing Ultrabook and that is why sales suck.

    1. Captain Save-a-ho
      Coat

      Re: Time to get real

      Unless they're a Fanboi...just sayin.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time to get real

      You can get a comparable performance machine (minus thin/light and w/o the SSDs that *some* Ultrabooks have) for $500. Maybe consumers don't think thin/light is worth the premium?

      I sure as hell don't...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Time to get real

        I carry my MBA around all day - half the weight / size and being rugged is well worth the extra cost over the 3+ years I will have it. Sure if it was stuck on a desk all day and taken out of the office 1 day every 2 weeks perhaps not. For me battery life and being well made / rugged is a must - plastic laptops just seem to wear so much worse.

        1. Boris S.

          Re: Time to get real

          No one needs an Ultra expensive toy when they can get a lightweight, powerful laptop at a reasonable price. Samsung, HP, Acer and many others offer < 4 lb. 13"-14" laptops with Trinity APUs that provide superior overall performance to any Ultrabook -- for hundreds less. If you need a Mac Air or Ultrabook to impress your friends, so be it. Informed consumers won't be exploited by Intel or Apple but sheep will.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Time to get real

            HPs range of sub 4lb laptops include 2 on their website, The only one comparable to an MBA for example, has a slower CPU :

            http://h40059.www4.hp.com/uk/homelaptops/product.php?id=B1J91EA&experience=direct

            and cost £1200 compared to the equivalent MBA at £999

            or maybe the samsung equivalent series 9? with lesspower

            http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004NF5RU6?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwetalecouk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B004NF5RU6

            at £1099?

            Now I agree that this is significantly cheaper at £627:

            http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004QH948W?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwetalecouk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B004QH948W

            but less powerful?

        2. Levente Szileszky
          FAIL

          Re: Time to get real

          "I carry my MBA around all day - half the weight / size and being rugged is well worth the extra cost over the 3+ years I will have it."

          And pretty much that's all you can do with that pathetically underpowered yet ridiculously overpriced toy, nothing else - Macbook Air: a fancy netbook for 3-4x the price, that is.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Time to get real

        I have to walk at least 2 miles every day and usually more to get around town. I do this with my laptop in my backpack. I used to have a 13" MacBook and detested carrying it around--too heavy. With an 11" MacBook Air, even though it's "only" 2-2.5 lbs lighter, I don't mind at all. There have been a few times where I accidentally schlepped my laptop somewhere without realizing, which would not have been possible with the old one. I would have paid more of a price premium for this level of portability.

        1. Philip Lewis
          Thumb Up

          Re: Time to get real

          Which is EXACTLY the reason I purchased an 11" Air the same week they first hit the stores.

          I have concluded I am not a fanbois, as (a) I have not upgraded despite a couple of hardware iterations of the model and (b) I am still running OSX 10.6.8.

          Another satisfied MBA user.

  10. E Haines
    Devil

    ™?

    If they've actually been granted a trademark, then it should be Ultrabook®, surely. Anyone can use ™, but you're only (legally) allowed to use ® if the trademark has been registered.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ™?

      While not a trade mark it does mean the name used has a modicum of goodwill in it and as such has some monetary value in relation to the goodwill of the name. It is a way to try and stop imitators.

      definition- AN UNREGISTERED TRADE MARK to promote a brand or goods.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why pay 900 quid...

    ...for a MacBook Air knockoff?

    1. sam bo

      Re: Why pay 900 quid...

      ...for a MacBook Air.

      1. Bodhi

        Re: Why pay 900 quid...

        Considering both Sony and Samsung were doing thin and light laptops before Apple made them shiny, I would say the Ultrabook was a Vaio knock-off personally. Apple getting credit for inventing something they didn't again I see.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why pay 900 quid...

          "Apple getting credit for inventing something they didn't again I see."

          Erm, no.

          Apple getting credit for packaging said product that's already in the market but not making a stir in a way that makes it sell.

          Clunky MP3 Players > iPods

          Clunky Tablets > IPads

          Clunky smart phones > iPhone

          Thin/Light laptops > MBA

          Like it or not (and I don't!), its really all smoke and mirrors, and that's a skill in itself.

          When I was writing the list above I was trying to work out exactly what thin/light laptops were missing before MBA came along and I'm b*ggered if I can think of anything, so wtf did it take Apple to take them mainstream?

          Y'know I've concluded that Sony really are sh*te these days. <sigh>

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why pay 900 quid...

            It's like slagging off a new, more advanced car just because cars existed before - Apple have significantly evolved all of those products whereas other manufacturers were happy to keep dishing up the same crap. Without Apple you would not have all these iPhone clones, without Apple you would not have all these slim iPad clones and without Apple I doubt MP3 players would have evolved so quickly to become commonplace.

            They have basically upped the bar a good few notches - no-one is claiming they 'invented' electricity or were first on the moon - but they have made a bigger contribution than most.

            1. Mark .

              Re: Why pay 900 quid...

              I don't know what an "iPhone clone" is, but phones and smartphones were showing a clear continual trend of improving long before Apple. Sure, Apple introduced some things - but so did many other companies. The Iphone wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for those other companies. And the rise of Android tablets would clearly still have happened without Apple - it's Google to thank for that, for providing an OS for everyone. Indeed, without Apple, maybe I'd be able to get software support for my phone and tablet, rather than all the sites that only cater for the minority of Apple users. Suggesting that without Apple, mp3 players wouldn't have evolved is madness - the improvement in the necessary technology (e.g., storage space in Flash) was not done by Apple.

              Tell you what - I'll thank Apple, when I hear an Apple user thank Samsung, Nokia, Google, Microsoft, ARM, NVIDIA etc. But you know what? I never ever have.

              It's claiming that one random make of car revolutionised everything, just because you can find one thing that was better about it, even though there were loads of other ways it was worse. And then talking about it all the time, on and on, years later. Some of us are fed up of hearing about it all the time - start giving credit to the many other multinationals who have also made a bigger contribution than most.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Why pay 900 quid...

                Face it, Apple invented the prototypical smartphone form factor that everybody is using (copying) these days, i.e., a big flat slab dominated by a touchscreen that you operate with your fingers and a minimal number of physical keys.

                If you need any proof that nobody else was headed in that direction, just look at where Google was going with Android before it got wind of the iPhone. Android was originally intended to run on phones that looked like the Motorola Q and any circa-2007 Blackberry. It was only after the iPhone became public knowledge that they did an about-face and got rid of the keyboard, doubled the screen size, and focused on touch UI.

                So think about that next time you're lovingly caressing your Samsung Galaxy (or whatever) and thinking about how much better it is than an iPhone...

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Why pay 900 quid...

                  Apple invented putting a phone inside a Dell Axim. There, I said it.

                2. Levente Szileszky
                  WTF?

                  Re: Why pay 900 quid...

                  "Face it, Apple invented the prototypical smartphone form factor that everybody is using (copying) these days, i.e., a big flat slab dominated by a touchscreen that you operate with your fingers and a minimal number of physical keys."

                  You mean for clueless, absolutely ignorant Mac users, right?

                  Because for the rest of us such smartphones - and yes, even application stores - were existing devices long before any Apple shill came even close to discover them, forget making these stupid-hilarious claims about Apple's 'invention' (sic!)...

          2. Mark .

            Re: Why pay 900 quid...

            The Ipad is a very big smartphone, so they hardly get credit for making something smaller. We've yet to see a small tablet that is a full blow PC - like it or not, the Surface will be that (whether people want that is another matter).

            The Iphone wasn't smaller, indeed in 2007 it was larger than many phones. Nor did it sell more - the earlier sales were low, and it took years to get up to the level of other platforms. Symbian dominanted to 2011, since then it's been Android. By company, Nokia and now Samsung lead - so clearly it wasn't Apple who were first to get "smart" phones to sell. (The first Iphone wasn't even a smartphone, as it didn't run apps.)

            My Sansa is far smaller than an Ipod, and my Samsung netbook smaller than an Apple Air. I don't recall them getting tonnes of hype and fuss.

  12. Robert E A Harvey

    what could change my mind

    If that price included:

    a battery operated, wireless connected, external DVD drive (what happened to wireless USB?)

    a wireless mouse (with an internal adaptor that does not take up a USB slot)

    a wireless headset (ditto)

    an ethernet adaptor

    a screen with at least 1200 vertical pixels

    and if the thing had built-in 3G connectivity, and could make VOIP and cellular calls with the aforementioned headset.

    1. ZillaOfManilla

      Re: what could change my mind

      a wireless mouse (with an internal adaptor that does not take up a USB slot)

      a wireless headset (ditto)

      Bluetooth?

      1. LarsG

        Re: what could change my mind

        Nothing

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what could change my mind

      Battery operated DVD drive - pretty pointless as you probably have to charge it off USB anyway - may as well just connect it for power / data using USB.

      Wireless mouse - are you kidding - bluetooth. Apple have done this for years - look up Magic Mouse.

      Wireless headset - are you kidding - bluetooth. Loads available from about £20-25.

      Ethernet adapter - are you kidding - many people have wifi and loads of laptops have ethernet onboard or via a small adapter (if they are ultra books).

      1200 pixels vertically - think you need to look at the Macbook Pro's.

      3G connectivity - some laptops do have it - but most people have iPhones / Androids that do tethering or you get one of those Mifi devices from Vodafone / Three for about £50 and a couple of quid a month.

      Sounds like you want a Macbook Pro retina display and iPhone 4S with a Vodafone contract - ker-ching.

  13. Hoagiebot

    Apparently, Ultrabooks are at least 5-times "deader" than netbooks...

    Everybody in the media seems to "know" that the netbook computer is dead. PC World claims that they're dead, PC Magazine claims that they're dead, Forbes claims that they're dead, Gizmodo claims that they're dead, ZDNet claims that they're dead, etc. However, based on the current sales statistics released by Canalys, the IT analysis firm that many of the above-mentioned media outlets sourced to make their netbook death claims, over 5.3-million netbooks were sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2012. And that sales figure is for just one quarter of 2012 mind you. If the IDC analyst that was quoted in this El Reg article is correct, and PC makers only end up seeing around 1-million Ultrabook sales by the year's end, there are only two ways that you can look at it: either Ultrabooks are at least 5-times "deader" than netbooks are, or maybe netbooks are not quite as dead as the media and the tablet floggers would like you to believe. Either way, things don't really seem to be looking all that positive for Intel-based Ultrabooks.

  14. Confuciousmobil
    FAIL

    It's nice to know this is the market MSFT are going after with the Surface...

  15. Jean-Luc Silver badge
    Trollface

    Careful guys

    with all the Apple luvin in this article, El Reg might just see itself invited to Apple shindigs again ;-)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Careful guys

      @Jean-Luc

      Okay, we'll give you the benefit of the doubt... but could you identify which bits of the article you fiind biased towards Apple?

      All I read was:

      a/ 'Ultrabooks' selling miserably. MacBook Airs are doing alright.

      b/ That photograph of Intel's Ultrabook was 'inspired' by an Apple image - it features the same hand!

      Could you point me to the bias I missed?

      1. chr0m4t1c

        Re: Careful guys

        >Could you point me to the bias I missed?

        Oh, that's easy, they didn't use the accepted Reg standard of referring to Apple as a Foxconn re-brander, nor did they humorously refer to them as crApple.

        Also, they forgot to imply that no-one in their right mind buys an Apple product for any other reason other than being a fanboi.

        Ergo, clear bias.

        ----

        We are the Reg Collective. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile.

  16. Tony Batt
    Childcatcher

    Re: Careful guys

    That's disgusting 'apple lovin' should be confined to pies

  17. ChrisB 2

    Here's the problem - El Reg's demographic are not the target market for Ultrabooks/Airs - those users aren't compiling code/video editing/playing CoD at 6 gazillion FPS.

    The demographic these machines are aimed at is mostly management types and they're using Office, sending emails, reviewing spreadsheets and surfing the net for news/reports. They can afford the machines (or their employers can) and they place a premium on size and lightness and, yes, on the cool factor too. There's no point in serious techies slagging off these machines - it really is horses for courses.

    1. annodomini2
      FAIL

      Manager types

      Manager types have their even more expensive micro business laptops. Which their company will require them to use due to their existing corporate contracts.

      These are aimed at the 'fashionistas' however most of them will already have an MBA.

  18. spegru
    Facepalm

    I wonder

    how many Macbook Airs they would sell if there were loads of 500quid Macbooks around anyway

    I reckon the problem with Ultrabooks is that they are seen as only being boring old Windows PCs really.

    The OS is the problem here

    1. red death

      Re: I wonder

      Personally I don't mind W7 or XP. IMO it is the price - why pay more for less functionality?

      Intel seem to have either been disingenuous about wanting to create Ultrabooks at the $1000 mark or they were trying to shift the consumer away from low value (and presumably low margin) laptops/netbooks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wonder

        Or maybe they are higher spec and cost more to make - I do not see many £300 laptops ship with all flash storage.

    2. Ilgaz

      Re: I wonder

      Be assured they won't be boring win machines soon, "lets emulate a tablet with locked down quad core x86" release aka win 8 coming soon.

    3. Mark .

      Re: I wonder

      Yes, that's why 90% of the market are out buying Apple OS X PCs, with only 10% buying Windows PCs. Oh wait.

      (I like Linux and Windows... I have respect for someone supporting open source, but sorry, if you're saying we should switch from Windows to OS X, you're still supporting a big company.)

      1. Ilgaz

        Real reason is and will be win

        That is why I try to explain. Massive processing power of x85 and a real gpu will be wasted for stupid "I am a tablet look at my ui" win 8 with possible Microsoft app store lock in.

        If it acts and looks like a tablet, why bother? Buy iPad or nexus.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a pointless comparison - you may as well say why is an ultra lightweight tent more expensive than a mass produced (heavier) one or a titanium pot twice the price of the steel one. They both do the same job but I know which I would rather carry around.

    Making stuff small and light while still being fast costs money - ask F1.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you are buying a Mac there is not a lot of difference in price between a Macbook Pro and Air - you buy the Air if you want it smaller / lighter (and can accept it's limitations) - you buy the Pro if you want the extra features or performance it provides (and can accept it's heaver weight).

    Sure you can get a plastic, lower spec., less rugged, bigger, heavier Windows laptop for less money if that's what you want.

    1. Levente Szileszky
      WTF?

      Typical ignorant Apple BS...

      ...as if Macbook Pros weren't bulky and overpriced crap laptops with mediocre hardware at that weight or MB Airs weren't fancy netbooks sold at hilarious price.

      But hey, you are just probably too clueless to ever hear about VAIO S series with its ~$1k price tag and Macbook-beating specs at 3.6lbs (fiber casing) or the uber-portable Z series that mops the floor with MBAs but I could bring up some other brands too...

      1. Goat Jam

        Re: Typical ignorant Apple BS...

        I wouldn't buy a Sony Vaio if you held a gun to my head. Crappy proprietary shitbox things they are. I haven't even got to the part about Sony having all the worst traits of your typical corporate psychopath yet . . .

  21. Badvok

    MacBook Air

    Interesting that Apple don't separate out the Air from the Pro in their figures. Makes me wonder whether there really is any mass customer demand for these 'Ultrabooks'.

    Surely if the Air was selling well then Apple would be happy to publish the figures.

    Personally I think greater power, memory, graphics and connectivity options at substantially lower prices win out over all the lightweight and expensive options.

    Ultrabooks (all of them) are aimed at those who simply do not need to worry about money and hence are only a relatively small market.

    1. Philip Lewis

      Re: MacBook Air

      I spend a lot of time in airports and airport lounges, and coffee shop visits for quick wi-fi access when on the run (roaming data!?! - I am not THAT rich). MBAs out number MBPs massively, like 5:1. This casual empiricism indicates that of the APPL portables, MBAs are the choice of people on the move, because that is their market. Sure, MBPs get carried around too, but there is no doubt that the MBA has been very successful in the "highly modbile" market.

      My job requires me to have one with me 24*7. The MBA is the choice.

      philip

  22. Bugs R Us

    MBA - Hot and loud

    What the glossy Apple ads don't tell you is that if you try and do more than simple taks like word processing or presentations, the MacBook Air's turns into a howling fan heater. That's why they go down well with sales execs and people who do light work rather than software egninerring/development or IT operations work.

    Rather than re-defining notebooks, I'd rather Intel did research to make tablets consume less power so there is a more compelling reason to migrate apps from laptops/desktops to tablet format.

    1. Ilgaz

      Reason is Intel

      Funny that Apple as a whole development environment and its users allow one thing very interesting. Next day they can announce "we switch to arm for air model, battery life increased 3x" and nobody would even notice the change computing wise. Don't believe me? Ask any Apple developer or even Linux/BSD developer. Linux guys code apps which compile and run fine on esoteric cpus they never used in their life.

      I bet this fact really creates massive panic in Intel, even AMD (for future).

    2. Goat Jam

      Re: MBA - Hot and loud

      "I'd rather Intel did research to make tablets consume less power"

      Good grief, have you been living under a stone for the last decade? Intel have spent vast amounts of money on trying to acheive this obvious goal and have thus far failed miserably,

      They have also made several announcements that the next big thing to come out of their R&D bunker will "be the one" but the reality has been invariably dissappointing to say the least.

      It is abundantly clear to me that the x86 architecture, for reasons that I am not qualified to understand, is unable to scale down in power consumption without seriously affecting performance.

      Despite trying desperately to match the power footprint of ARM processors for years intel have come up with nada. Modest reductions in power consumption often with significant reductions in processing power to match. Atom, I am looking at you.

      The future of tablets is ARM and iOS/open source, the Wintel hegemony is fast becoming a footnote in history. I'm sorry if that means you won't be able to use your copy of Photoshop Super Pro Plus on your tablet but I suggest you get used to that reality.

  23. Test Man
    Stop

    If you say Intel had been granted the trademark, surely it's not ULTRABOOK™ but ULTRABOOK®?

  24. Mark .

    Ultraportables around long before Apple

    You're claiming that they copied Apple, because the side of laptops both look the same? You should get a job at the Apple Patent Department!

    Expensive high-end ultra-portables were around long before Apple came along. Indeed, ultra-portables being more expensive was actually the norm - the change that happened more recently has been the drop in price, first with mainstream laptops, then with ASUS revolutionising the market in 2007 with cheap ultra-portables.

    I suspect the big problem "Ultrabooks", or ultra-portable PCs in general (including Apple's) face is that consumers are used to low end laptops, and most people don't see the point in spending loads more. But then, I'm not sure that is a problem - they're a premium high end product, and it's usual for sales to be less than lower end cheaper products.

    Saying that Apple sell more ultra-portables is just yet another hand-picked statistic to make Apple look better. Firstly as you say yourself, the stat is for all their laptops, and you just guess that it's mostly ultra-portables. But who cares if other PC companies are selling less in one particular segment, if overall they're still selling more than Apple? Indeed, perhaps most people simply don't like the high end ultra-portable form factor and pice point (personally I see it the worst of both worlds - my Samsung netbook is far more portable, and for high end use, my Clevo is far more powerful, and doesn't need to be as portable), just as most people also don't buy Macs. You might as well praise Apple for being number one in "phones that have 3.5" screens".

    Also since Apple PCs also use Intel, I'm not sure how it's a fail for Intel anyway. They make money, whichever company it is selling PCs.

  25. Dan Paul
    Holmes

    People who use Laptops need/want value, features that "Ultrabooks" don't have

    It's a fact that most people who buy a Windows Laptop PC are less affluent than Mac owners. They want a product that will do it all from productivity/office software to surfing to playing media because they can't afford or justify anything more.

    They look for "value" and having to buy all manner of adapters, external drives etc etc to have comparable functionality does not provide value.

    When you can buy a budget laptop for under $500 that will do most of what a desktop can, that's a bargain.

    If you must add hardware to a pricey "Ultrabook" to make it do the same thing as the cheap laptop it's an outright luxury.

    The compact lightweight design of an Ultrabook already costs far more than it should. The added costs of additional devices does not help the price point.

    Instead of chasing Apple, Intel and Microsoft need to concentrate on meeting customer needs and expectations. They do not know who their market is anymore and they don't recognize that luxury does not sell well in this down economy.

    The upcoming "Surface" tablet by Microsoft is an opportunity to fix that. The price point should be around $600 to $700 with room for discounting. Processor & Ram Specs should be high enough to run real office, cad, or other common business software, bluetooth, wifi, ethernet, multiple USB ports, full size SD/HC slot (64 Gb), high resolution display at least large enough for A4/8.5 by 11 inch full size documents in portrait mode, capacitive touchscreen, and available in BOTH Win7 and Win 8 OS. You could have a docking station that included a DVD drive but it would be nice to have one onboard.

    Don't lock yourself into Intel, Microsoft. AMD would kill to work with you on this product and they have a killer APU with better graphics than Intel will ever have. Remember Intel is working with the enemy now.

    No business will touch Win 8 for a few years so Win 7 is an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT!!!!! You want to sell this to BUSINESSES so they need a manageable, secure, mature OS.

    Anyone who says otherwise at MS is a daft fool who must be a covert Apple employee.

    If all these features are there, this price point will outsell the iPAD and the MBA and you will have your market back.

  26. BigAndos
    Stop

    Ultrabooks are still too expensive

    I bought an Asus Zenbook last year and I absolutely love it. It is (relatively) high spec and incredibly light and with the SSD it simply flies along. However, it cost me £1000 which is better value/performance than a Macbook air but is a fair chunk of cash. Intel simply can't expect mass adoption of ultrabooks unless the price creeps down towards the £500 barrier, there is nothing behind the slow sales than that in my opinion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ultrabooks are still too expensive

      Id be interested to see the spec list, as I remember the asus zenbook had similar specs (maybe a 256GB SDD instead of 128), but in a plastic case for that 1000?

  27. K Silver badge
    WTF?

    Paul Otellini slide..

    More hyper-sh*t... please show me an Ultrabook that really looks that think!

    1. Oninoshiko
      WTF?

      Re: Paul Otellini slide..

      umm what?

  28. h3

    None of either ultrabooks or the macbook air are robust enough for the money.

    (Don't know if Panasonic do a Toughbook ultrabook that might be ok).

    Even the lenovo Thinkpad branded stuff is nowhere near as robust as it was during the days when IBM did the whole thing in house.

    (Other bits of hardware comes and goes but my Thinkpad X31 is still going strong and pretty indestructible despite my best efforts. It is only a 1.7Ghz pentium-m but it works better than any netbook I have come across. Graphics are pretty mediocre though (Much better under Linux using accelerated X)).

  29. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Down

    Ripoff pricing with crappy, outdated integrated grapics and pathetic screen resolution FAILS...

    ...surprising, it is not.

    Sony's VAIO S w/ 1600x900 is something an Ultrabook were meant to be but never managed to come even close - and a loaded VAIO S premium is about $100-150 more than an Ultrabook, let alone the fact that if you are fine with Sandy Bridge in it (previous, i5-2xxx-based S-series) then you can get it around $700-800 which makes it a bargain (provided you are up for a replacement if you get one of with the noisy fan issue.)

  30. Sil
    FAIL

    A missed opportunity

    The ultrabooks aren't selling as expected because Intel compromised the vision by authorizing underwhelming machines.

    It had the opportunity to re-define a class of high end, "can do almost anything" notebooks, a sure sign of good performance that would reassure the buyer.

    Instead people are surely disappointed by slow, not future proof and even probably not present proof machines in the same way I know of very very few satisfied netbook customers. Most felt trapped after having purchased netbooks that couldn't start and stop Windows XP in less than five minutes and take an hour to install a few meager updates.

    Also the battery life is not enough. It should be 8 hours on a standard well defined battery test.

    4GB RAM? Non-SSD hard drives? No display port? No Ethernet port? This isn't the way to go. Look at notebooks forum and you will see droves of customers purchasing an ultrabook and separately buying RAN and SSD and upgrading it as soon as it arrives.

    In addition what's with super small screens and indecently low resolution such as 1366x768 that were maybe ok 10 years ago? Why produce ultrabooks with less than 1080p?

    It's really sad because top ultrabooks should be interesting.

    I'm looking for an Asus-like prime zenbook with 14" full hd monitor, a display port (not a facelol mini vga) and an ethernet port, at least 3 USB 3 ports, at the very least 8GB of RAM with a 16GB option, at the very least 128GB SSD with 256 and 512GB options and a 6 to 8 cells battery.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pigs will fly before Ultrabooks become popular

    The bottom line is Ultrabooks are not Ultra at all except in cost. There are many other, better choices that meet most people's needs for a lower cost and which perform better, which is precisely why Intel can't sell these failures even when paying people to buy an Ultrabook. If you're one of the few who sees great value or need in an Ultrabook then you're in luck because no one else wants one.

  32. jamesb2147
    FAIL

    Don't forget that a picture of an MBA used to be the photo used on Intel's homepage and all over its website generally to promote "Ultrabooks."

    As a side note, I filed a complaint with the FTC over false advertising and alerted Intel support to the issue. After taking several months to respond to my allegations, they denied that it was a picture of a Macbook Air. Even though it clearly has a mockup of the proprietary and patented Apple MagSafe port in the mockup. :/

    Dumbasses. Marketing FAIL.

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