Intel has recently released the Haswell, their 4th generation of the Core i series processor, and it has occurred at an interesting time. Some are viewing it as a factor in furthering the PC industry's sagging sales. I see that as a short term effect; let's also look at this from a more long-term view.
Yes, it's true the price point on the laptop low-end will be in the $700 range and $1300-1600 on the high-end. However, it is also true that with a new generation release (tock), the price will be higher. . . somewhat. Looking beneath the surface of that, let's consider what has occurred with the Haswell release in terms of it's features (or lack of) that are narrowing the gap between laptops (more distinctly Ultrabooks) and the tablets.
Let's consider the changes that have occurred from this 4th generation release:
- Energy usage has become much more efficient. Longer battery life is the top feature; 7-9 hours are possible now. Users that have considered going to tablets because of their much longer battery life now have a viable option with a Haswell laptop/ultrabook.
- Enhanced Graphics capability will be a joy to many users. Users that opted for a tablet because of graphics support may now want to think twice about converting to a tablet.
- Intel Ultrabook touchscreen mandate; the machine must now have a touchscreen or it is not considered an Ultrabook. Users that love the tablet touchscreen now understand all Ultrabooks will in fact have that capability; no exceptions.
The long-term laptop/tablet marketplace pricing will follow the features users desire for their computing. The features that were so attractive to tablets; long battery life, user interaction, good graphics capabilities, are now available to laptops/ultrabooks. As demand increases, prices should come down. This should drive laptop sales up and stabilize that industry sector. That sector definitely can use a boost.
It will also be interesting to see the overall PC industry effect from the 4th generation Haswell. Intel has earmarked all sectors; tablet-laptop-desktop-server as candidates for this processor. This Fall, we will see more of the higher-end desktops available with this processor. Desktops with the Haswell will no longer have legacy PCI support on expansion cards. PCI Express is the only game in town now.
Many of you opting for a laptop to tablet conversion may find this is a good time to get a tablet, with the great prices available. However, I believe we will see in the not too distant future, the public being in an interesting position to consider two choices: the tablet, and the good ole tried and true laptop, that can also successfully meet your portable computing needs with similar features. I see that as a great place to be.
To get more information about the Hawell 4th generation processor from Intel, you can view it here.