Apple pulled ahead of HP in the fourth quarter to become the largest player in the client PC market, a new report suggested Monday. The Cupertino-based company shipped more than 15 million iPads and 5 million Mac computers last quarter, and those figures represented 17% of all PCs shipped around the world during the fourth quarter. The report, which comes from market research firm Canalys, said PC shipments grew 16% annually to reach 120 million during the quarter, and the firm’s categorization of “PC” includes desktops, notebooks, netbooks and tablets in its figures. Tablets drove PC growth, however, and Canalys said the market would have declined by 0.4% without taking tablets into consideration. Read on for more. More →
Acer, Asus and Lenovo will reportedly begin selling ultrabooks equipped with Intel’s fast and versatile Thunderbolt I/O port, which combines DisplayPort and PCI Express, during the second quarter of 2012. DigiTimes said mostly high-end computers will adopt Thunderbolt this year since it now costs more than $20 to add Thunderbolt connectivity to a computer. Apple was one of the first companies to adopt Thunderbolt and it currently equips a number of its computers and displays with the technology. A recent patent filing also suggested Apple may begin using Thunderbolt in iOS devices, too. More →
AMD is reportedly planning to undercut Intel by offering cheaper ultrabook components later this year. The notebooks are expected to cost between $700 and $999, which is a good deal cheaper than the $999-$1,200 price tag that many ultrabooks carry now. DigiTimes notes that AMD’s technology will not add any new innovative functions but will instead be focused on delivering consumers thin and light devices at a much more wallet-friendly price. The first round of AMD-powered ultrabooks is expected to hit the market in June. More →
HP recently circulated a short video of a new ultra-thin notebook that is purportedly its upcoming HP Envy Spectre ultrabook. While there aren’t any specs discussed in the video, we’re definitely impressed by what appears to be a very sleek design. HP’s first ultrabook, the Folio 13, was unveiled in November and it offers the latest Intel Core processors, a 128GB SSD and more for a relatively affordable $900 price point. The Consumer Electronics Show is just around the corner so hopefully we’ll hear a bit more about the Spectre next week. The clip follows after the break. More →
Intel could be preparing to unveil most of its next-generation 22nm Ivy Bridge processors “on or around” April 8th according to a recent rumor. The company is set to introduce 25 different models in total, DigiTimes reported, including 17 chips designed for use in desktop PCs and eight for notebooks and ultrabooks. Intel will announce the following desktop processors in April according to the report: the Core i7-3770K, 3770, 3770S, 3770T as well as the Core i5-3570, 3550 and 3450. The desktop processors will reportedly range in price from $184 to $332. The following notebook CPUs will also be announced: Core i7-3920Qm ($1,096), 3820QM ($568) and the 3720QM ($378). Intel is allegedly working on the Core i5-3520M, 3360M, 3320M for notebooks and the Core i7-3667U and Core i5-3427U for ultrabooks, but those processors may not be announced at the same time; the company is expected to unveil several other models for both notebooks and desktops in May. Intel has said its Ivy Bridge chips will offer a 37% performance increase over its 32nm chips.
Despite the launch of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system and the introduction of ultra-thin Intel-powered ultrabooks, Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes thinks the PC industry will see little or no growth in 2012. Reitzes recently said that he expects PC unit growth to hover around just 0.8%, down from his original forecast of 5.1%. He argued that hard drive shortages “could impact some supply” during the first half of next year and that tablets and smartphones will “continue to cannibalize the PC market — especially as docking options become more robust.” Recent flooding in Thailand affected two major hard drive suppliers, Western Digital and Seagate, causing a hard drive shortage that impacted much of the industry. Reitzes also blames the poor economy for his lowered estimates, and he argued that corporations are less likely to refresh their PCs since unemployment is still high. The analyst’s figures aren’t that far off from other industry predictions. IDC recently said the flooding in Thailand could cause PC shipment growth to fall to between 2.2% and 3.4%, down from the firm’s original forecast of 5.1% growth over 2011.
Following the early successes of its of 11-inch and 13-inch ultrabooks, Acer has reportedly decided to build a brand new 15-inch ultrabook that may dramatically undercut the price of Apple’s rumored 15-inch MacBook Air. DigiTimes said Wednesday that Acer has already contracted Pegratron to build the new computer, and that the device could be priced as low as $699 — $300 cheaper than the entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air. The latest rumors suggest that Apple could be prepared to deliver its 15-inch MacBook Air to the market as soon as the first quarter next year and that the device is already in the early stages of production. It is unclear when Acer’s new ultrabook will launch. More →
Acer will cut its product line by 66% in 2012 and focus on simplifying its portfolio, company chairman JT Wang recently said according to reports. Wang expects the narrowed focus to be fine-tuned over the next two to three years, DigiTimes reports, but the sharper vision will have an immediate impact on sales — Acer thinks revenue will climb 10% in 2012 as Acer attacks the ultrabook market while shifting away from low-margin netbooks. The Acer boss also sees another upside to the advent of ultrabooks: the rise of slim Windows and Intel-powered notebook computers will weaken Apple’s growth over the next two years. As ultrabook prices begin to fall to the $699-range in 2012, their rapid adoption will slow sales of more expensive Mac laptops. Wang did note that fourth-quarter shipments were hurt by hard drive shortages due to the flooding in Thailand, but he says recovery was quicker than expected and business will rebound in the first quarter. More →
Are PC makers starting to give up on tablets? Manufacturers Asus and Acer are shifting focus to Intel-powered ultrabooks instead of tablets to improve gross margins, DigiTimes said on Tuesday. The site’s report suggests that the notebook market may soon begin to rebound after declining in 2011. Both firms are seemingly drawn to the wider margins achieved on sales of notebook computers, and are also gravitating away from developing low-cost netbooks. Asus and Acer aren’t alone; other reports have suggested that Dell and HP may also abandon the tablet market next year despite rumors both would launch Windows 8 tablets during the third quarter. In addition, Asus and Acer are eyeing opportunities in emerging markets such as China, Indonesia and India as opposed to the United States and Europe, where the firms typically spend the most effort trying to sell devices. Asus has previously denied reports that it might abandon Android tablets. More →
ASUS reportedly has plans to unveil a convertible ultrabook running Microsoft’s next-generation Windows 8 operating system at the annual Computex trade show in Taiwan next June. DigiTimes’s anonymous industry sources claim that the super-slim notebook computer will feature a swiveling touchscreen display, allowing the computer to be used like a standard laptop or like a tablet. No other details are available at this time. The report claims that ASUS’s new convertible ultrabook will launch in September alongside Windows 8, though Microsoft has not yet confirmed a launch timeframe for its new operating system. More →
LG on Monday unveiled a familiar looking laptop that falls into Intel’s much-touted new ultrabook category, the Xnote Z330. With the shape of a MacBook Air and the color scheme of a MacBook Pro, the LG Xnote Z330 is a 13.3-inch notebook that boots Windows 7 in less than 10 seconds thanks to “Rapid Start Technology.” The Z330 is even thinner that Apple’s MacBook Air at its thinnest point, and it weighs in at just 2.7 pounds. Spec highlights include a 1.6GHz Core i5 or a 1.7GHz Core i7 processor, a 120GB or 256GB SSD, 4GB of RAM, HD graphics, WiDi wireless display technology and an HDMI-out port. Battery life is rated at more than six hours, and the base model starts at just over $1,500 while the fully loaded model costs more than $2,300. Additional images and specs follow below. More →
Last year more than 100 tablets were unveiled during the Consumer Electronics Show and this year it appears the focus could shift to Intel-powered ultrabooks. Demand for ultrabooks — devices defined as powerful thin and light notebooks with long-lasting battery life — is expected to begin to heat up following the holidays and January’s Consumer Electronics Show. More than 50 new ultrabook models will be displayed during CES and the category is expected to be one of the hottest consumer electronic segments on the show floor, Taiwan Economic News said Tuesday, citing insights from a show organizer. Intel, which invested $300 million in the utltrabook platform, also said that there will be more than 60 different ultrabook models available during 2012, and the chip maker’s upcoming Ivy Bridge processors will power many of them. Initial reports suggested that ultrabooks are off to a slow start, with just 50,000 units shipped so far from Acer, ASUS, Lenovo and Toshiba combined. Additionally, weak sales of the first models from Asus and Acer forced both firms to scale back production by as much as 40%, another report suggested. More →
Apple is reportedly planning to launch a brand new 15-inch MacBook Air in the first quarter next year. A new report from DigiTimes cites unnamed sources from within Apple’s parts suppliers in claiming that Apple will launch a completely refreshed MacBook Air lineup in early 2012. Consisting of 11.6-inch, 13.3-inch and 15-inch models, the new Air line of MacBook laptops is already in the early stages of production according to the report. DigiTimes also says Apple will drop its pricing on current MacBook Air laptops before the new models launch some time next quarter. The site had previously reported that Apple intends to launch its new 15-inch MacBook Air in the second quarter next year. More →