Reacting to Apple at CES 2012: Intel's Ultrabooks to Samsung's Galaxy Note

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Without even making an official appearance at CES as an exhibitor, Apple has become an invisible hand directing the show and what the company's competitors choose to promote as their future strategies. Here's a look at how the industry is chasing Apple at this year's CES.



Reacting to Apple at CES 2012, part one: Intel's Ultrabooks

Reacting to Apple at CES 2012, part two: Samsung's Galaxy Note

Reacting to Apple at CES 2012, part three: Sony, Motorola, RIM, Nokia



Apple has played the rhinoceros to many campfires lit at CES over the past several years, stomping out netbooks and Microsoft's Windows 8 Slate PC with the iPad and Google's Nexus One with iPhone 4 in 2010, and then returning a year later to extinguish any flames of excitement surrounding RIM's PlayBook and Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets with iPad 2.



This year, two of the biggest initiatives at CES, Intel's Ultrabooks and Samsung's Galaxy Note pad-phone with a stylus, were clearly aimed at responding to two of Apple's most successful products.



Are Intel's Ultrabooks the MacBook Heir?



Positioned next to Microsoft near the central entrance of the trade show, Intel had a selection of Ultrabooks on display from Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Toshiba, all "inspired by Intel" in the sense that they are based on the company's chipsets and design recommendations.















While clearly patterned after Apple's MacBook Air, Intel really has competition from Qualcomm in mind, specifically the rival chipmaker's new ARM-based Snapdragon S4, which is aimed at delivering a new wave of tablets and netbook-like devices that will be able to run not just Android but also eventually Windows 8 at some point after it ships at the end of this year.



While Qualcomm was represented at CES, Apple wasn't, forcing AppleInsider to supply its own MacBook Air for direct comparisons with the Ultrabooks on display in Intel's booth. In the photos below, the MacBook Air has the backlit keyboard, while the Ultrabooks appear affixed with Windows and Intel stickers.









Microsoft's efforts to port Windows 8 to ARM (in order to compete with Apple's iPad in the tablet market) scares Intel enough to make it willing to risk its relatively new Intel Mac partnership with Apple to pursue its own Ultrabook strategy aimed at cloning the success of the MacBook Air across other PC makers. The biggest problem for Ultrabooks is that they're too expensive to compete with the MacBook Air.



On page 2 of 3: Wintel, Intel Macs now a frienemy free for all



Wintel, Intel Macs now a frienemy free-for-all



Intel's previous attempts to get PC makers to successfully clone Apple's designs, such as its 2005 effort to copy the Mac mini, didn't pan out, but Apple subsequently adopted Intel's chips itself across its Mac lineup. As the third largest and fastest growing PC maker in the US, Apple is now a significant customer of Intel's x86 chips.



At the same time, Intel appears to be focused on finding and retaining other x86 chip customers, knowing full well that Apple will leave Intel behind the moment it gains access to more desirable processors. Apple did just that with the iPad, abandoning its initial plans to use Intel's Silverthorne (now Atom) chips after developing a more power efficient ARM chip of its own, the A4.



New generations of Apple's ARM-based processors are reportedly already threatening to steal away Intel's chip business in future MacBook Air models, while other ARM chip designers (principally Qualcomm) are gunning to keep Intel out of the smartphone and tablet business and, at the same time, expand into mobile PC netbooks and notebooks, a market dominated by Intel and predicated upon its x86 chip architecture.







Intel has responded with an Android "Medfield" smartphone reference design that could be mistaken for an iPhone 4. The company partnered with Google on Android last September to counter both Microsoft's lack of x86 support in Windows Phone 7 and its upcoming plans to support ARM-based PC and tablet devices with Windows 8.



Intel had previously partnered with Linux and then Nokia to hedge its "Wintel" partnership with Microsoft. Microsoft subsequently partnered with Nokia a year later and induced the company to abandon its Meego Linux partnership with Intel to focus on Microsoft's own Windows Phone platform.







On page 3 of 3: Ultrabooks are more than just a second-hand breath of Air



Ultrabooks are more than just a second-hand breath of Air



At the same time, Intel's Ultrabook plans are also getting support from Microsoft, which wants to see Windows running everywhere. Ultrabooks also promise to raise the average price of PCs, a goal Microsoft has already struggled with its PC partners to achieve, first in thwarting Linux on ultra cheap netbooks, then with Windows 7 pricing strategies.



In mid 2009, Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer said Microsoft would use Windows 7 to "readjust those prices north," part of an effort that BusinessWeek described as "a new pricing strategy around Windows 7 that the company hopes will result in far more upgrades to premium SKUs, and a reversal of a strategy in the last year to cut prices to spur demand in emerging countries."



Microsoft's efforts to raise PC prices with the help of manufacturers has resulted in small annual upticks in the Average Selling Prices of PCs over the past two holiday seasons according to NPD Group, a reversal of decades of plummeting PC prices that have continually eaten away the profits of PC makers and, in the last few years, even began to affect Microsoft's bottom line.



While most Ultrabook designs have features in common with the light and thin MacBook Air, others could be mistaken for MacBook Pros, with optical drives and conventional hard disks. So rather than being a malicious swipe at Apple by Intel to destroy the MacBook Air, Ultrabooks are really a quite desperate move to prevent PCs from losing their dependence upon Intel's x86 chip architecture as well as an equally desperate attempt to salvage the profitability of PC makers outside of Apple.



Ultrabooks are only copying Apple because Intel wants the same results Apple is experiencing. Unfortunately, Ultrabook PC makers lack the sophisticated operations and retail presence Apple has, in addition to lacking the halo provided by the iPod, iPhone and iPad.



While a variety of PC makers have also tried to build portable media players, smartphones and tablets, they haven't yet been able to match Apple in those categories either. Part two looks at Samsung's efforts with the Galaxy Note, and three provides an overview of Apple's impact on other CES exhibitors, including Motorola, Nokia, RIM and Sony.



Reacting to Apple at CES 2012, part one: Intel's Ultrabooks

Reacting to Apple at CES 2012, part two: Samsung's Galaxy Note

Reacting to Apple at CES 2012, part three: Sony, Motorola, RIM, Nokia
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 104
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Oh look, they're even doing the Apple-style flat keys, which a lot of PC'ers panned when they first came out for not having enough travel. Shameless b*stards.
  • Reply 2 of 104
    What's that old saying? You can put lipstick on a pig....
  • Reply 3 of 104
    It seems the problem with most of these other companies is... "They have no taste".



    If they copied Apple's ideas and made them better then good luck to them, but blatant copying isn't attractive, especially when it's poorly done. (And more expensive in some cases!)



    Firstly one of the simplest things they could do is get rid of the ugly brand stickers all over the machines, it immediately makes them look cheap and nasty.
  • Reply 4 of 104
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...While clearly patterned after Apple's MacBook Air, Intel really has competition from Qualcomm in mind, specifically the rival chipmaker's new ARM-based Snapdragon S4, which is aimed at delivering a new wave of tablets and netbook-like devices that will be able to run not just Android but also eventually Windows 8 at some point after it ships at the end of this year. ...



    Windows 8 on ARM sounded interesting when Microsoft first told everyone about it but since then things have changed. MS has already said ARM versions of Windows 8 won't run x86 code. Developers will have to port their apps to the ARM platform.



    If MS was smart (and we know the answer to that question) they would dump Windows 8 for ARM and focus on developing a tablet version of their Windows phone OS. I don't understand why anyone would want to run Windows 8 on any hardware if they can't run their standard Windows 8 apps on that hardware.



    -kpluck
  • Reply 5 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post


    What's that old saying? You can put lipstick on a pig....



    Exactly.



    Although to give them credit, the machines themselves are probably good and they're looking better than previous attempts, but they're not doing themselves any favours by blatantly ripping off Apple.



    And even though some people love Windows, I still feel it tarnishes any brands hardware no matter how well it's designed.
  • Reply 6 of 104
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Last year the focus was on tablets, now it's ultraportable notebooks. If these don't work out for the other vendors and Apple comes out with a new product category I bet I can guess what CES 2013 will be focused on.
  • Reply 7 of 104
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Oh look, they're even doing the Apple-style flat keys, which a lot of PC'ers panned when they first came out for not having enough travel. Shameless b*stards.



    Chicklet or "island style" keyboards was invented by Sony.



    Later, copied by Apple.



    Finally, further distorted by its fans.




    Hard to swallow but it is true.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post


    What's that old saying? You can put lipstick on a pig....



    Says the person who owns the same spec laptop as all the rest of the PCs.
  • Reply 8 of 104
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    Chicklet or "island style" keyboards was invented by Sony.



    Later, copied by Apple.



    Finally, further distorted by its fans.




    Hard to swallow but it is true.



    THE INTERNET HAS SPOKEN... and disagrees with your revisionist history.
  • Reply 9 of 104
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    These versions of the cloned MacBook Air are very different. They work well as snow shoes.
  • Reply 10 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Oh look, they're even doing the Apple-style flat keys, which a lot of PC'ers panned when they first came out for not having enough travel. Shameless b*stards.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Galbi View Post


    Chicklet or "island style" keyboards was invented by Sony.



    Later, copied by Apple.



    Finally, further distorted by its fans.




    Hard to swallow but it is true.







    Says the person who owns the same spec laptop as all the rest of the PCs.





    Mate, where does he say that the chicklet keyboard was invented by Apple??



    If Apple use it and others don't in general, then it can be fairly called "Apple-style" for the sake of discussion. And I'm guessing it was "panned by a lot of PC'ers" because you haven't denied that bit....



    Your post is an attempt at a straw man argument and thus irrelevant to his point, which still stands unanswered by you.



    The only distortion going on here is your distortion of his statement for the sake of what you believe to be true....
  • Reply 11 of 104
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LeeRoy View Post


    Firstly one of the simplest things they could do is get rid of the ugly brand stickers all over the machines, it immediately makes them look cheap and nasty.



    Not that easy, since there's money to be made with these stickers. Some MS employees didn't like it as well, and asked Ballmer to create 'MS Signature' computers. You need to pay extra to get a PC without the stickers (and free software pre-installed)



    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/...ust-like-macs/
  • Reply 12 of 104
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


    Not that easy, since there's money to be made with these stickers. Some MS employees didn't like it as well, and asked Ballmer to create 'MS Signature' computers. You need to pay extra to get a PC without the stickers (and free software pre-installed)



    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/...ust-like-macs/



    I thought I had read somewhere about Intel and/or MS allowing for toned down stickers if you opt for certain level of high-endedness.
  • Reply 13 of 104
    maecvsmaecvs Posts: 129member
    I think it would be a horrible mistake for Apple to switch from Intel processors to another type that is not compatable with the PC world. That is one of the reasons macs are enjoying the surge they are, because they are now compatable with the PC universe. I hope Apple realizes that.
  • Reply 14 of 104
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maecvs View Post


    I think it would be a horrible mistake for Apple to switch from Intel processors to another type that is not compatable with the PC world. That is one of the reasons macs are enjoying the surge they are, because they are now compatable with the PC universe. I hope Apple realizes that.



    You really think Macs are selling because people running a retail version of Windows on them?
  • Reply 15 of 104
    mauszmausz Posts: 243member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


    Not that easy, since there's money to be made with these stickers. Some MS employees didn't like it as well, and asked Ballmer to create 'MS Signature' computers. You need to pay extra to get a PC without the stickers (and free software pre-installed)



    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/...ust-like-macs/



    Nice thing about theses stickers is, they make the device a little bit cheaper. and for a shocker : they can be removed in less than a minute
  • Reply 16 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Oh look, they're even doing the Apple-style flat keys, which a lot of PC'ers panned when they first came out for not having enough travel. Shameless b*stards.



    First they bash and redicule, then they silently copy. Again and again, year over year.
  • Reply 17 of 104
    maecvsmaecvs Posts: 129member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    You really think Macs are selling because people running a retail version of Windows on them?



    Yes, they are.



    Macs were very much a niche product when they were running Power PC processors. But now, thanks to the move to intel, they are in areas that they would never have been before. It's not necessarily that people are running windows on them, it's that they CAN. Let's not forget the fact that Windows still dominates the market, 80 plus per cent or whatever it is.



    I call on a business that I see as a metaphor for the computer world. It was an office of 50 or so people, all doing on-line transaction processing, using windows. This office originally had two iMacs. But slowly, over the past couple of years, over half the staff are now using iMacs. As each Dell machine is replaced, it's being replaced buy a Mac. They are running windows on it, but the office is slowly converting all of their PCs to macs.



    That's what is happening in the real world. People that have never been exposed to Apple products are usually brought into the Apple world by either an iPhone, or iPod, and now, the iPad. They buy that gateway product, then realize how amazing it is, and start thinking about a Mac. When they discover they can run windows on it, that's the clincher. Now, they don't NEED to run windows necessarily, but they know they can. THAT is Apples secret weapon. Apple just needs to remember that.
  • Reply 18 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maecvs View Post


    I think it would be a horrible mistake for Apple to switch from Intel processors to another type that is not compatable with the PC world. That is one of the reasons macs are enjoying the surge they are, because they are now compatable with the PC universe. I hope Apple realizes that.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    You really think Macs are selling because people running a retail version of Windows on them?



    It certainly helps people coming from the Windows world with the transition. But I guess it wouldn't make more than 3-5%, since the main concern people have is usually, wether they will be able to continue using their office files.
  • Reply 19 of 104
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maecvs View Post


    That's what is happening in the real world. People that have never been exposed to Apple products are usually brought into the Apple world by either an iPhone, or iPod, and now, the iPad. They buy that gateway product, then realize how amazing it is, and start thinking about a Mac. When they discover they can run windows on it, that's the clincher. Now, they don't NEED to run windows necessarily, but they know they can. THAT is Apples secret weapon. Apple just needs to remember that.



    But that could also be discounted by people like myself, brought into the Apple world through an iPhone, made the switch from years of PCs to a Mac to get AWAY from Windows. The simplicity and intuitiveness that the iPhone demonstrated to me in a mobile device made me reconsider how computers should work. After 20+ years of fighting dozens of Windows machines, I wanted the same experience in personal computing that I suddenly had in mobile computing.



    When I purchased my iMac a couple of years ago, I knew it could run Windows, but I didn't want it to run Windows. I'm sure I wasn't the only one feeling this way when I made the Apple shift.



    I wonder if anyone has ever did a survey of users who have made the PC to Apple changeover and have never installed Windows on their Mac?
  • Reply 20 of 104
    maecvsmaecvs Posts: 129member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post


    But that could also be discounted by people like myself, brought into the Apple world through an iPhone, made the switch from years of PCs to a Mac to get AWAY from Windows. The simplicity and intuitiveness that the iPhone demonstrated to me in a mobile device made me reconsider how computers should work. After 20+ years of fighting dozens of Windows machines, I wanted the same experience in personal computing that I suddenly had in mobile computing.



    When I purchased my iMac a couple of years ago, I knew it could run Windows, but I didn't want it to run Windows. I'm sure I wasn't the only one feeling this way when I made the Apple shift.



    I wonder if anyone has ever did a survey of users who have made the PC to Apple changeover and have never installed Windows on their Mac?



    A good question.



    I used windows from back in the days of DOS. I Bought the first Gen iPod touch, and later the first gen iPhone. From there I bought and iMac and MacBook in 2008, and I've never looked back.



    In the business world people are being exposed to Macs in the work place, because they are running windows. The workers see the Mac in action, buy one for their personal use. The tide to Mac products grows and grows.



    The point is, that the transition to intel made this all possible. Why do you think they made the switch to begin with? It's something they needed to do years before they did. Going to a non-PC compatible processor will only harm Apple. It would be an ill advised move.
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