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Microsoft has stepped up involvement in the design of upcoming touch-enabled Ultrabooks to ensure that the user experience with Windows 8 is top-notch. Currently, most laptop screen hinges allow the screen to move about when touched. This shaking is annoying and makes the screen harder to read. This problem plagues large-screen notebooks.
The reports surrounding Microsoft's involvement in designing Ultrabooks didn't specifically state what the company was asking manufacturers to do. It would be a pretty good guess that they are trying to beef up the hinges so that they hold the screen better and avoid the shaking that occurs with current models.
Both Intel and Microsoft are pushing for touch-enabled Ultrabooks as they feel that this is the way of the future. 30 percent of Ultrabooks available for purchase this holiday season are expected to be of the touch-enabled variety. These could be the classic clamshell type notebook, or one of the new sliding designs shown off at IDF Beijing.
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Intel is in their element at their Intel Developer Forum (IDF) where they've made predictions to the long-term future of computer displays. Excitement... building... A presentation caught by Liliputing saw "Rich Displays" with some super-high resolutions becoming mainstream from 2013 onward. Intel have said that they wouldn't just hit smartphones or tablets, but it would also reach the smallest notebooks, to the smaller all-in-one desktops.
This includes 11-inch Ultrabooks sporting 2560x1440 displays, right up to 21-inch desktops with 3840x2160 screens. Yes, how great is that! Intel also expects "halo" 15-inch notebooks with the same 3840x2160 output, which should provide us with a "Retina Display-like" effect. Pixels will be much harder to see on a 3840x2160 resolution screen, much harder.
Intel also wants high color ranges, wider viewing angles, better power efficiency, and thinner overall screens. They also want Windows 8 Ultrabooks to take advantage of touchscreens. Intel, I agree, and I look forward to throwing more money at technology because I'm a resolution hoe.
Intel just finished IDF Beijing and presented some pretty innovative designs at the event. Intel has never been one to shy away from at least trying some innovative designs. At this IDF, Intel presented a new hybrid Ultrabook dubbed the Letexo. Not quite sure what a hybrid Ultrabook is? Well, it is a convertible notebook design.
The Letexo can be a regular Ultrabook with a touchscreen or you can pull the screen forward into a touch-enabled all-in-one PC. The part that I think will have serious consumer appeal is that the Letexo can convert into a tablet with the screen going flush into the chassis. The only for sure part of this is that it is based on Ivy Bridge. There is no note of whether anyone has jumped on board with the design.
Intel have talked about this before, where they've said that there'll be 75 new Ultrabook designs floating out into the wild throughout the year, but now we have Intel reiterating the fact. Pricing of the new systems should kick off at $699, which is $100 cheaper than the cheapest machine available now.
Intel's general manager for the PC client group, Kirk Skaugen, says that some of the new designs will sport Windows 8 and touchscreens. Yay. This means that a bunch of the new Ultrabooks won't land until after the Windows 8 launch, but with Intel investing large sums of time, effort and most of all, cash, into Ultrabooks, we should only expect good things. The cash injection? Just $300 million.
Skaugen has said:
I think we can deliver the best of a tablet, and the best in what (users) know in a notebook. Intel plans to ensure ultrabooks have a consistent experience. And if it's too thick it won't be called an ultrabook. It won't be allowed to be called an ultrabook because ultrabook is a trademark of Intel and we can protect the trademark.
HP's EliteBook 8460p business notebook is looking to be succeeded by HP's EliteBook 8470p. The new model shares the same 14-inch display, and bead-blasted aluminum/magnesium construction, but the new 8470p is said to have Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processor inside.
HP is expected to put on offer multiple Intel Core processors, with one of the prototypes running a 1.7GHz Core i7, according to leaked specs posted on Laptop Reviews. HP's latest business notebook is also expected to sport the 9-cell accessory battery that the 8460p used. This claimed a very, very impressive 32 hours of run time.
Filling out the EliteBook 8470p we have integrated Intel graphics, USB 3.0 ports, up to 8GB of RAM, multiple storage options, and a choice between 1366x768 and 1600x900 display resolutions. No pricing has been set, or launch details.
Apple's next-generation MacBook Pro 2012 could be hitting us much sooner than expected, this is all in relation to some of the current models being out of stock, including J&R and Best Buy. Best Buy isn't even accepting online orders for them right now.
If you want a 2011 Edition MBP, you'll have to find out, if they're available. According to Apple Inside, 40- to 60-percent of Best Buy shops in Chicago and Austin are reporting "stock outs" on the 15-inch 2.4GHz MacBook Pro. Retail channels usually find themselves running out of stock as Apple shuts down production.
This is done to flush the distribution channels out of units, so that the new models can come through. No details are available on the new MacBook Pro, but we expect them to at least sport Intel's latest 22nm Ivy Bridge CPUs, upgraded HD4000-series graphics as well as a discrete AMD or NVIDIA GPU. I'm also expecting SSDs to be a default now, which should've been made so in the 2011 Edition, as well as a personal hope here: higher-resolution screen. 1920x1200-pixel should be default, with the 17-inch hitting 2560x1440. Please, Apple. Do this and I'll replace my 17-inch 2011 Edition MacBook Pro.
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The latest rumors to come from DigiTimes, who quotes a report from China's Economic Daily News, says that supplier checks are now indicating that due to the late-April availability of Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs, Apple now plans to push back the launch of the refreshed MacBook Pro and iMac models to near the end of the company's fiscal second quarter, which ends in June.
But, these new rumors could prove to be real as earlier speculation points to Apple beginning to use new glass tech a company called G-Tech for the display screens, which are said to be less reflective and reduce glare.
Manufacturers of the new units are said to be handed over to Foxconn and Quanta, which will benefit from the smaller and more energy-efficient, but faster Ivy Bridge chips, as well as support for internal PCI-Express 3.0, USB 3.0 and faster graphics. Other reports are pointing toward the new iMac being thinner, which could then point to the new iMac losing its optical drive, just like the MacBook Air.
iPads may reign as champions now, but once touch-enabled Windows 8-powered Ultrabooks arrive, their days as undisputed leader will (in my opinion) be numbered. Intel is now strongly encouraging manufacturers to implement touch technology in upcoming Ultrabooks says Intel product manager Anand Kajshmanan.
Kajshmanan told PC World that Intel fundamentally believes in the concept and future of touch. Intel believe its the perfect time for touch screen notebooks, considering Windows 8 is slated to launch later this year. Kajshmanan expects notebooks with touch-enabled screens to drop in late-2012, and if not, 2013 at the latest.
He also expects to see a big increase in convertible touch screen notebooks such as Lenovo's Yoga which was shown at CES 2012, and something I was really interested in. Kajshmanan notes that enabling touch screen support on notebooks adds around $100 to the price, considering they'd already be at the ~$1000 price, this isn't too bad.