For the past few months the world has been glossing over a vague new concept called ultrabooks. It is nothing more than a simple definition of a new breed of laptops- thin, light, powerful and with a great battery life. Most of us jumped at the new piece of technology, and so did all the manufacturers. It was however, not a new ‘technology’, but just another concept!
It was Intel who started it, by defining the term and certifying the devices which qualified its norms as ‘ultrabooks’. It led to a lot of new innovations such as the use of carbon fibre and large-scale implementation of SSDs. There were a lot of designs and form-factors which just flew out of the designers’ desks. But there were still chaos and most of the new laptops were debated over for that ‘ultrabook’ title. But then again, it all started with a single design. It all started with the MacBook Air. When Steve Jobs wowed the audience and the world by pulling out a notebook out of an envelope, a new standard was set in the market. Much like many of its products, Apple’s MacBook Air was set to be copied into a new segment called the Ultrabook. Quite similarly the tablet-frenzy was started with the iPad and till now it is the most popular and most-selling tablet on the planet. Even if it can’t be said similarly for the MacBook Air, but it is still the gold standard.
And Apple has just taken the level even higher. CEO Tim Cook announced huge performance upgrades on the MacBook Air family and the MacBook Pro family at the opening of WWDC ’12 this monday at San Fransisco. The MacBook Air was already a favourite among the enthusiasts because of its thinness, its lightness and the sturdy aluminium unibody that houses it. Even though performance on the earlier models was a bit lacking, Apple boosted its power by introducing the new Ivy bridge processors, more RAM, more Flash Storage, Thunderbolt and USB 3 ports. The MacBook Air now has upto 512 GB of SSD space! Moreover its RAM can be beefed up to 8 GB, while its graphics is handled by the DX 11 compatible Intel HD 4000 chipset.
Ironically, much of the power of the new MacBooks comes from Intel’s faster processors! While the MacBook Pros received similar updates, a new star stole the spotlights. Apple introduced the next generation MacBook Pro, complete with a Retina Display, 750 gigs of SSD space, 16 GB of RAM, Nvidia’s Kepler graphics and still slimmer than the other MacBook Pros by one-fourth of their height and lighter by a pound! If a top-notch Ultrabook is compared spec-to-spec and in terms of size and design, the new MacBook pro kicks ass! And that too by a huge margin!
Intel and all the other manufacturers would now be doing some deep thinking and/or emergency meetings in underground bunkers to chalk out a plan. But they cannot beat this anyway, at least not this year. Even though the price (starting from $2199) is quite a lot, the best configuration goes up to $3750. Performance-wise no other ultrabook even comes close, though Alienware and Lenovo Thinkpad W series may be able to play ball with it. Even then, no other laptop can deliver 2880×1800 pixels on a 15-inch screen.
Apple has brought out its horse and it starts as the favourite. Let us see what others bring out and what chances they have against perhaps the best laptop ever built.