Intel and Microsoft’s secret weapon against Apple

“Intel and its partners are about to launch the biggest promotion of a new product category called Ultrabooks since the company’s Wi-Fi based Centrino launch early last decade,” Tim Bajarin writes for TIME Magazine. “And Microsoft is about to launch a major update to Windows called Windows 8 that introduces the new ‘Metro’ touch user interface. Together they are critical products for the future of each company individually.”
“For mainstream users who have had to lug around their rather bulky laptops for the last five years, they would be justified in asking Intel and the PC vendors ‘What took you so long?’ given that Apple has had their MacBook Air on the market for five years and defined what an Ultrabook should be,” Bajarin writes. “And with Windows 8 and Metro, Microsoft is also following an evolutionary path towards touch UI’s with its Metro based smart phones and soon to be Metro based tablets and PC’s. Again, consumers could ask Microsoft “What took you so long?” since Apple has had their touch UI on the iPhone for five years and on their iPads for two years.”

Bajarin writes, “I believe Intel and Microsoft have a secret weapon in the works that could win them kudos from the marketplace and be a key driver in getting users really interested in both companies again. The secret weapon is a new form factor often referred to as ‘hybrids’… But in the latter case, the design resembles more a slim laptop or Ultrabook-like casing, and the screen can be taken off and used as a tablet. I believe this latter design is the secret weapon that Microsoft and Intel can use against Apple and at least on paper, give Apple a run for its money, especially in business and enterprise. And to a lesser extent, it could be hot in some consumer segments where the keyboard is critical and users want a laptop-centered experience as well. This is where Apple’s current strategy can be challenged… If Apple applies their innovative design knowledge to create a hybrid that blends the iPad and the MacBook Air into a single device, it could have an impact on their ability to dominate this market.”

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