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In the decade we have been publishing TechSpot, we have watched Apple resurge from the joke that G3 and G4 machines represented, to the Apple 'Mac vs. PC' debate -- during a time the company had better luck selling MP3 players than computers -- to today's ubiquity of Apple products in all forms of computing devices.
During the past 10 years Apple has systematically attacked and conquered from several fronts. Here's a brief recount of those winning products, and where it applies, the industry incumbents that for one reason or another failed to innovate or at least failed to beat Apple at breaking products to the masses first.
Steve Jobs unveiled the first MacBook Air in early 2008 to mixed reviews, but a series of redesigns and hardware refreshes through the years have resulted in a product line that has had a huge impact on the industry. PC makers have struggled to match the Air’s extremely thin and simplistic design, prompting Intel to announce the ultrabook initiative at Computex in 2011.
New for the 2012 MacBook Air is the Intel Ivy Bridge processor sporting Intel HD 4000 graphics, higher capacity storage and memory options, as well as an improved 720p Facetime HD camera, and support for USB 3.0. The 13-inch system also received a $100 price cut, now starting at $1,199.
Earlier this week Apple announced updates to its entire notebook lineup, bringing it up to date with Ivy Bridge processors and a few other goodies. Like them, many other computer manufacturers have been showcasing new and updated laptops over the past few days and weeks.
Ultrabooks in particular received quite a bit of attention, and we’re not surprised. Intel is putting a lot of weight behind the concept and expects it to be the main driver of PC market growth in the short term. With that in mind, we’re taking a couple of Wintel alternatives to check how well they stack up next to the new 13-inch MacBook Air.
Editorial It appears as though we're just now arriving to that sweet spot where fewer compromises can be made to build fast and svelte machines that are budget-friendly, all at the same time. However, it's easy to miss what a true next-generation ultraportable notebook should be.
Manufacturers are short-sighted if they only focus on building fast machines that weigh 3 pounds or less, without putting design and user experience at the core of their future developments. Here are some key aspects where I believe PC makers should focus and where some are already failing on their first try to deliver a killer ultrabook.
Intel may have already cleared a potential roadblock recently reported regarding development of sub-$1,000 Ultrabooks. Citing notebook makers, DigiTimes claims that Intel has produced a revised bill of materials that would significantly lower the pre-manufacturing cost of Ultrabooks.
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