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Intel's new 'Ultrabook' design to compete with Apple's iPad, MacBook Air

post #1 of 67
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Intel has unveiled design guidelines for a new category of thin-and-light laptops, dubbed "Ultrabooks," that take cues from Apple's iPad and MacBook Air.

Intel executives detailed the new designs at the Computex trade show, Engadget reports. Ultrabooks will marry the performance and capabilities of a laptop with "tablet-like features" in a "thin, light and elegant design," Executive Vice President Sean Maloney said in a statement.

According to Maloney, Intel aims to reach a 40 percent share of the consumer laptop market with the "no-compromise" Ultrabook by the end of 2012. The new class of mobile PCs will sport form factors less than 20mm thick and cost less than $1,000.

The first Ultrabooks will utilize the current-generation Sandy Bridge architecture, but, beginning in the first half of 2012, Intel plans to transition Ultrabooks to the next-generation "Ivy Bridge" processors.

In 2013, the chipmaker hopes to introduce products codenamed "Haswell" as the "third step toward achieving the Ultrabook and reinventing the capabilities of the laptop in ultra thin and light, responsive and more secure designs." Intel claims the Haswell processors will reduce microprocessor power to "half of today's design point."

The first Ultrabook laptops will arrive in time for the 2011 holiday shopping season, Intel said. ASUS will be one of the initial launch partners of the Ultrabook specification with the UX21 Ultrabook.



"At ASUS, we are very much aligned with Intel's vision of Ultrabook," said chairman Johnny Shih. "Our customers are demanding an uncompromised computing experience in a lightweight, highly portable design that responds to their needs quickly. Transforming the PC into an ultra thin, ultra responsive device will change the way people interact with their PC."

Pundits expressed skepticism at the new Ultrabook design, calling it a "makeover" of the struggling netbook category. They also noted that, several years ago, Intel attempted to introduce a thin-and-light specification called Ultra-Low Voltage, but the category failed to catch on. However, Intel says it has learned from its mistakes. "We really didn't get behind marketing [ULV]," said Thomas Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's sales and marketing group. Ultrabooks will receive "a massive campaign by Intel in 2012," he said.

The new category closely resembles Apple's own vision for "the future of the MacBook:" the MacBook Air. CEO Steve Jobs said last year that the design team for the newly redesigned ultra-thin portable had drawn from popular features on the iPad, such as instant-on capability and battery standby time.

Intel also highlighted its accelerated roadmap for upcoming versions of the Atom processor, which is designed for tablets, netbooks and smartphones. According to the company's statement, "the Atom processor will outpace Moore's Law, accelerating from 32nm through 22nm to 14nm within 3 successive years."

In April, Intel launched a new Atom chip, codenamed Oak Trail, for tablet computers. At the Computex show, Intel showed off the next-generation of 32nm Atom processors for tablets, codenamed "Medfield," with a prototype running Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb.
post #2 of 67
In other words: Intel believes the best direction for the laptop market to pursue is to copy the MacBook Air.

If you look at that mock-up, its a full-blown copy.
post #3 of 67
That UX21 sure looks a lot like the new MacBook Air in design.

If Asus and other OEMs resist the temptation to race to bottom (meaning they keep prices higher, and form factors sexy), then Ultrabook might just transcend the Netbook category and emerge as the next gen in premium thin-and-light notebooks (competition for Lenovo's ThunkPad X201, for example). Big if. If a price war breaks out, they be back down to the $499 razor thin margin machines again. And that's probably what will happen.

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post #4 of 67
Good Lord! They're visionaries! However did they think up something like that???
post #5 of 67
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post #6 of 67
At last, Intel understood that marketing could help selling ULV's.
post #7 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Good Lord! They're visionaries! However did they think up something like that???

No kidding. Can someone say lawsuit?
post #8 of 67
Razor thin margins is the name of the game with Wintel/Andtel. I'm not sure competitors will flame out with a race-to-the-bottom competition. That's what they said with the netbook. I don't think that forced any company out of the game and I doubt this would.

The MacBook Air has clearly set the bar though and that will continue to keep Apple on their toes. Being the leader, Apple has to work hard to stay there. What's amazing is that you never hear any trash talk due to Apple's lower market share (looking at the whole PC market) now. They are leaders and are clearly the ones to emulate. Apple will have competitors of all kinds nipping at their heels for years to come, and if history is a good guide, for decades to come.

Intel's just reasserted their relevance with this announcement. There's clearly room for multiple approaches. And I guess Atom is still making them money since they're clearly committed to that in a significant way. 14 nm. Wow. As if I could wrap my mind around 45 nm. But 14 nm.
post #9 of 67
Hopefully, a really ultraportable MacBook Air soon: 400 to 600 g and 7-inch. The Mac in your pocket. Always.
post #10 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by PG4G View Post

In other words: Intel believes the best direction for the laptop market to pursue is to copy the MacBook Air.

If you look at that mock-up, its a full-blown copy.

Now they just have to copy themselves an OS and a developer ecosystem. Unless they figure the buying public won't know the difference, or that their market consists mostly of Apple-hater types whose only criteria are hardware specs and the lack of an Apple logo.
post #11 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

Oak Field. Honeycomb. Cocoa. Java. Mango.

The computer industry's cutesy names annoy me.

That is all.

Well, the Java Project was a result of several ex-NeXT engineers helping Gosling copy as much of ObjC/Openstep as possible.

Surprised? I'm not.

Cocoa was the perfect name to mock Sun for calling their project Java.
post #12 of 67
Mac Book Air is novel in that it uses SSD and perhaps ultra will too. Surely Apple will design something superior IF the Ultra becomes a threat as opposed to a copy.
post #13 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Intel has unveiled design guidelines for a new category of thin-and-light laptops, dubbed "Ultrabooks," that take cues from Apple's iPad and MacBook Air.

\ If Asus and Intel bring these machines and implement Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich, Android will then be competing with Chrome in Chromebooks. Google can't win with this. It will be like a dog chasing its tail.

The WinTab will also be mucking up or be mucked up by the Ultrabook, So should Apple abandon Intel and go for a different chip? Maybe it's time for Apple to resume talks with AMD?
post #14 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Good Lord! They're visionaries! However did they think up something like that???

The wedge design was from Sony back in 2004 with the Sony X505.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/airwave...n/photostream/
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post #15 of 67
Apple should get a big medal for inventing the future.

Phones... OS... hardware design. Seriously.
post #16 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Well, the Java Project was a result of several ex-NeXT engineers helping Gosling copy as much of ObjC/Openstep as possible.

Surprised? I'm not.

Cocoa was the perfect name to mock Sun for calling their project Java.

Really?

I've programmed loads of Java and I've programmed quite a bit of Objective-C and Cocoa, and they are nothing like each other. Nothing at all. Not the language itself (syntax nor language aspects), not the API breakdown, not the way you build user interfaces with them, not the technical aspects of the compiler and runtime, nothing. Java is a built-from-the-ground-up 100% pure object-oriented, interpreted/bytecode language with a huge set of platform-independent API's stacked on top of it that are part of the core language. Objective-C + Cocoa is a conservative extension to C, mixed imperative and object-oriented, compiled language, with a very clean and concise API and frameworks that are not part of the language and specifically engineered for creating OS X applications.

I'd even go as far as saying Java and Obj-C+Cocoa are almost diametrically opposed to each other in terms of their design philosophy and intended purpose. To a programmer or UI designer they have almost nothing in common. Java was created as a cross-platform solution based on the object-oriented programming hype that was at its fullest back then, and the whole language is a no-compromise implementation of these concepts. Objective-C and Cocoa were never supposed to be cross-platform, pure object-oriented, based on any other design philosphy then an opportunistic adaptation of existing technology. The name 'Cocoa' (which is about chocolate if I'm not mistaken, not about coffee or islands of Indonesia) has no association with Java.
post #17 of 67
Aren't competitors going to find it difficult to match the Air's lightness/thinness/strength ratio without the Unibody process?
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post #18 of 67
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Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Hopefully, a really ultraportable MacBook Air soon: 400 to 600 g and 7-inch. The Mac in your pocket. Always.

Unless it has 3G, maybe 4G, is powered by ARM and runs iOS apps, I don't see it happening.
post #19 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by allblue View Post

Aren't competitors going to find it difficult to match the Air's lightness/thinness/strength ratio without the Unibody process?

Who cares about strength, you can take one of those thin Vaios and literally bend the screen. It's a feature! Bendability!
post #20 of 67
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Originally Posted by tru_canuk View Post

No kidding. Can someone say lawsuit?

"lawsuit"
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post #21 of 67
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Originally Posted by anyoneson View Post

Apple should get a big medal for inventing the future.

Phones... OS... hardware design. Seriously.

Better than a medal, Apple should get 66% of everyone's revenue, since Apple's done all the heavy-lifting these past 10 years.
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post #22 of 67
Why is everyone so critical about this just because it's intel. The mac is based on an intel platform, if intel can put an ivy bridge chipset on an ultra thin body, apple will benefit too. Hopefully it will also bring prices down. It's a win-win for everyone.
post #23 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by zunx View Post

Hopefully, a really ultraportable MacBook Air soon: 400 to 600 g and 7-inch. The Mac in your pocket. Always.

7-inch diagonal screen would support 720x480px resolution. Any higher resolution, and you'd have to have your face less than two feet away from the screennot comfortable in a "laptop" form factor. Any lower resolution, and the application interface elements take up so much of the screen that you have no room to do any actual work.
Keyboard probably have a maximum width of 6"standard Mac keyboard is just under 11"
Where would the trackpad go? current trackpad is about 3"x4". "PocketMac" trackpad would have to be much smaller to fit the form factorbut much smaller makes it practically useless.
7" "PocketMac" would probably have a footprint of about 4"x7.5" minimumtoo big to fit comfortably in any of my pockets.
iOS and Mac OS X are two distinct environments, serving different purposes, with the dividing line between the iPad and the MacBook Air. Anything that squeezes into the space between them would harm both, I think.

IMHO, a "PocketMac" would be a failed gimmick. Of course, I'm willing to have my mind changed. I accept rebuttals.
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post #24 of 67
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Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Good Lord! They're visionaries! However did they think up something like that???

Exactly! Just like Apple visionaries with the MacBook Air - a complete Sony Vaio 2003 ripoff.
post #25 of 67
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Originally Posted by gescom View Post

Exactly! Just like Apple visionaries with the MacBook Air - a complete Sony Vaio 2003 ripoff.

Um. No.
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post #26 of 67
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Originally Posted by magicj View Post

I tend to agree.

Objective C looks like a programmer took a big bong hit, looked at ANSI C syntax and thought "The only way this could be any better is if we grafted on a custom version of SmallTalk that's prone to leaking memory."

Seriously, Objective C is very old tech. I'm very impressed that Apple has been able to do as much as they have with language, but I hope it never catches on outside of Apple.

That said, Java has issues of it's own. Like looking like it was designed by a bunch of PhDs.

Haha I guess you are not a programmer right?

There's no such thing as a 'perfect programming language', but evn though I agree that the Objective-C syntax is a bit wonky and looks like a bastard child of C and SmallTalk, it's actually a very nice language.

Objective-C combines the best aspects of other languages without pulling in their downsides. It supports object-oriented designs pretty well but doesn't force you to make everything a class, it has fully dynamic typing and introspection, but unlike many other languages that have that it's a compiled language. It has garbage collection (at least on OS X, and most likely also on iOS from iOS 5 onwards), but it still allows manual memory management (which can be important for performance, and is only 'prone to memory leaks' if the programmer doesn't pay attention), it has a small set of foundation classes, yet they are flexible enough to not require you to pull in loads of support libraries. It has crazy fast compile times (as opposed to e.g. C++) and it integrates seamlessly with C and C++ since it's a conservative extension of C. It doesn't overwhelm new programmers with 20 different ways to do the same thing (such as C++ with it's templates and generics), but it provides simple alternatives that allow you to solve similar problems differently (albeit with a small performance hit), for example through protocols, categories and run-time interface queries.

Java on the other hand is a bit like you described it, it's clearly based on a top-down design by a small group of people who were not prepared to make any compromises about object-orientation, and really went too far with it. Personally I think it's a terrible language to program in, because it forces you to solve problems in awkward ways you would never choose voluntarily. Everything needs to be wrapped in classes, and even the simplest design patterns fan out into a whole web of classes and relations. Yet someone still decided to make one exception to this iron-fist of object-orientation and slipped in fundamental types such as int, float, etc. Java didn't have generics for a long time, and when it got them, it was implemented in a way that almost makes you think the language designers didn't want you to use them, because code using generics is almost incompatible with code (including third-party code from libraries) that doesn't use them, forcing you to either scatter around compiler intrinsics throughout your code to suppress warnings, or forget about generics altogether. Java makes simple things hard, and it makes you write a lot more lines of code to solve similar tasks than almost any other language. Add to that the downright terrible user interface API's Java went through which are horribly convoluted, slow, unintuitive and seem to be deprecated and replaced between every major version.

Through the years I have programmed (in random order) assembler, C, C++, Objective-C, Pascal, Delphi, Java, Python, PHP, all in non-trivial amounts. Today, Java is almost automatically at the bottom of my list of languages to choose to solve any problem. Python and Objective-C are my favorites since they allow me to write great code really fast, and that code usually works first time around. C++ still has it's uses for code that has a strong dependency on efficient algorithms and data structures that require tight control over performance and memory usage. For most programmers it's just too big of a gun to shoot yourself in the foot though

So don't write off Objective-C as useless, awkward, not powerful enough just because it has a weird syntax and grew out of 30-year old technology, because it's actually a very elegant and well thought-out language that is really enjoyable to work with. I've never been interested in OS X programming for exactly those reasons you mentioned, when I found out I had to use this weird Objective-C language I lost interest because I thought it was useless, awkward and a niche-language and I didn't see why I should use it. Then iOS came along and I dived into that. Now, some 200k lines of Objective-C later, I think it's the perfect language for GUI-driven development and choosing it over all available languages despite all the prejudices developers have about it, was actually a brilliant move typical of Apple: don't just go with the flow, but pick whatever you think is best and let the world wrap their heads around it, they will eventually find out the reasons behind your choices.
post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

Really?

I've programmed loads of Java and I've programmed quite a bit of Objective-C and Cocoa, and they are nothing like each other. Nothing at all. [...]

Java Was Strongly Influenced by Objective-C
post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by PG4G View Post

In other words: Intel believes the best direction for the laptop market to pursue is to copy the MacBook Air.

If you look at that mock-up, its a full-blown copy.

That is why Apple is the leader and the rest are the followers.Exact copy asus made from the MBA.
post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Well, the Java Project was a result of several ex-NeXT engineers helping Gosling copy as much of ObjC/Openstep as possible.

Surprised? I'm not.

Cocoa was the perfect name to mock Sun for calling their project Java.

The Java design team were primarily ex-Smalltalk engineers. Smalltalk was the inspiration behind Objective-C. The central theme of both Smalltalk and Objective-C was message passing as opposed to virtual methods. Unfortunately, at the time, performance of message passing languages was poor compared to virtual methods so they went with the more performant design in Java. Java was initially intended as a small-footprint but fast object-oriented language.

Message passing leads to different design patterns then virtual methods, so the libraries (Cocoa vs. Java standard) are designed very differently.

You should keep in mind that there's a difference between stealing designs and building on designs. The old saying that we stand on the shoulders of giants is quite true. Each language is an attempt to see what works in the real world and what doesn't. The Java approach proved that you can get to within a hairs-breadth of compiled language performance in a virtual machine language. And that garbage collection can work very well in the real world.
post #30 of 67

You are right that the wedge shape is there, but hinge is a huge difference. I haven't seen anyone use the hinge like Apple does until this one. Now, someone may prove me wrong on that, but I think the combo of the hinge, the aluminum, the black trim around the edgeless screen, the thickness and the wedge shape leave few differences.
post #31 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Java Was Strongly Influenced by Objective-C

Well it may have been 'influenced by' and it may have 'borrowed a few concepts from' Objective-C, but it turned out like something completely different in the end.

The argumentation of the guy in that link, even though he appears to have worked on Java in the early stages, is very weak at best, the only actual resemblence he mentions is how Java doesn't have multiple inheritance just like Objective-C (and millions of other languages) don't, and how Java interfaces look a bit like protocols in Objective-C (even though in practice they are completely different, for example because in Java interfaces have inheritance/in Objective-C they don't, Objective-C has informal protocols/Java doesn't).

That post looks more like 'yeah I worked at NeXT and then I worked on Java when I still knew a lot of people around NeXT, so *clearly* Java was heavily influenced by Objective-C', as if he designed the language single-handedly. It's a bit like a variant of 'if all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail', but differently.

In reality you can go ask *any* programmer who wrote nontrivial amounts of Java and Objective-C, and they will all tell you Java and Objective-C are completely different in about everything, including those aspects that have the biggest impact on a language (think message-passing vs. virtual functions, pure object-oriented vs. hybrid, compiled vs. interpreted, explicit/static vs. loose/dynamic typing, conservative extension to some other language vs. whole new language, and so on) if you actually start using them. You can make a list of 100 aspects of Java and Objective-C and cross which one has what, and you'll see almost only differences.
post #32 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-range View Post

Well it may have been 'influenced by' and it may have 'borrowed a few concepts from' Objective-C, but it turned out like something completely different eventually.

The argumentation of the guy in that link, even though he appears to have worked on Java in the early stages, is very weak at best ...

The "guy in that link" is one of the creators of Java and he's simply stating what the influences were on the language he helped create. There isn't a point to argue here, these are the facts.
post #33 of 67
I guess Apple will think twice about working 'closely' with Intel in the future.
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post #34 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Futuristic View Post

Um. No.

well, how about you look up your own info about the Sony VAIO X505.... i wish this wasn't true.... Apple deserves to have actually created a product like that, but alas.

Also, this is like the MBA... until you realize that it won't be able to get close to battery life with its i7 lol

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post #35 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolbolas View Post

well, how about you look up your own info about the Sony VAIO X505.... i wish this wasn't true.... Apple deserves to have actually created a product like that, but alas.

Also, this is like the MBA... until you realize that it won't be able to get close to battery life with its i7 lol

I get about 3 hours of battery from my MacBook Air 11". Hardly the "5-7 hours" Apple claims.
post #36 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvfox View Post

That is why Apple is the leader and the rest are the followers.Exact copy asus made from the MBA.

ASUS has been building thin and light laptops for several years. As far back as 2008 they had the S101 coming in at .7 in/18MM and 2.2 lbs. And it looked pretty darn nice too.
http://www.laptopmag.com/review/lapt...e-pc-s101.aspx

No surprise that ASUS might get the nod for one of the first Intel Ultrabook designs.
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post #37 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

The "guy in that link" is one of the creators of Java and he's simply stating what the influences were on the language he helped create. There isn't a point to argue here, these are the facts.

Influenced by does not imply 'similar to', and I'll repeat, in the end, Java turned out nothing like Objective-C. If that 'guy in that link' had worked exclusively on COBOL or Fortran before he became involved in designing Java, he'd probably have written Java was 'heavily influenced by Cobol and Fortran'.

I particularly like this bit from that post:

Quote:
>> Java is clearly semantically derivative of Smalltalk and other
>> languages related to it. Most notably, NeXT's
>> Objective-C is almost uncannily similar to Java: single inheritance,
>> dynamic binding, dynamic loading, "class" objects, interfaces,
>> and now methods stored as data (a-la Java's "reflection" library),
>> all-virtual functions, you name it. It's almost weird.

Where he lists a whole slew of 'clear semantic derivatives of SmallTalk [..] and Objective-C', completely glossing over the fact that in Objective-C all of these things except single inheritance work completely different. Objective-C doesn't have 'all-virtual methods' since it doesn't have virtual methods at all, it has message passing (which happens to be about it's most distinctive feature) and selectors which are resolved dynamically, and unlike Java can actually be replaced or added/removed at runtime in Objective-C. Interfaces in Java are nothing like they are in Objective-C, where they can be formal or informal (optional), can be queried on the selector level (not the interface level), and don't have inheritance (unlike Java). In Objective-C reflection is a language feature, not a library, and it works on a completely different level than Java, where introspection means 'looking at the class object' instead of 'looking at the runtime class instance'. Class objects in Java are static and directly relate to a syntactical class definition, while in Objective-C you can have categories on class objects that dynamically add methods to them. I don't know about how dynamic class loading is implemented in Objective-C, but I don't know about any Objective-C equivalent of JAR files that allows you to drop some archive of classes, point the runtime to it and have your Objective-C code automatically load classes from it on-demand either.

Like this list of 'similarities' I can give you a list of fundamental differences between the 2 languages, and it would be at least 5 times longer, probably 10 if I spent the whole day on it. At the end of the day you can compare any 2 languages you want and find some similarities and some differences. In the case of Objective-C and Java, the 'intersection' between the two is relatively small.

It may very well be a fact that some concepts from Objective-C trickled into Java, but looking at the end-result, saying 'Java is clearly influenced by Objective-C' really is taking the point too far. It's like saying the airplane was clearly influenced by the car, because both have wheels and windows. In practice, they are almost opposite in almost every way, and that was what I was talking about.
post #38 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by PG4G View Post

In other words: Intel believes the best direction for the laptop market to pursue is to copy the MacBook Air.

If you look at that mock-up, its a full-blown copy.

I know, what a blatant copy. It has a screen, a keyboard, and it's even quite thin! Those scurrilous dogs, Apple should sue the pants off them.
post #39 of 67

No one is saying that it's a copy simply because of the wedge shape.

Shippster has specific design elements that are clearly copied from the MBA. (I would also add the keyboard placement to his list).

Put a picture of Intel's prototype next to the images above and then next to the MBA. It is pretty clear that they did everything they could to copy the MBA.

It's one thing to have a product that just happens to look like an existing product due to design limitations (square screens, need for space for a keyboard, etc). It's another thing when EVERY design element (even the non-functional ones like the use of a brushed aluminum case) are clearly intended to create confusion.
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post #40 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by PG4G View Post

In other words: Intel believes the best direction for the laptop market to pursue is to copy the MacBook Air.

If you look at that mock-up, its a full-blown copy.

Er how?

The asus looks square, square corners on the screen, square buttons, square trackpad. The MBA is rounded in all 3 areas. The MBA gets thinner at the edges to make it look even thinner, this doesn't. The screen on this thing looks like it is made of two pannels on top of each other, rather than one solid thing.

Quite frankly other than the large trackpad (which also still has 2 buttons), it being thin and possible the hinge what exactly is the copy?
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