updated 11:05 pm EDT, Sun May 22, 2011
Dell XPS 15z leak gives Tuesday release
A leak late Sunday confirmed that Dell's XPS 15z would formally launch on Tuesday. The 15.6-inch system had already been teased and its $999 price leaked but now had a relatively close announcement. The WSJ also backed suspicions of a heavy Apple influence with an assertion that the 15z was made to "better compete against Apple's popular Macbook [sic]" and that it would be the thinnest notebook of its size "on the planet."
The official teasers and leaks so far have so far shown a design very closely copying the 15-inch MacBook Pro design, down to the speaker grilles, an aluminum frame with a black bezel, and a slot-load optical drive on the right, among other traits. Dell is expected to also use Core i5 and i7 chips, though the price could dictate a slower design.
Dell has been succeeding in its mainstay enterprise business but has been struggling to find its footing in the home business. Its home PC sales have been dropping in part because of a shift away from Dell's preferences for either cheap or direct-order PCs towards expensive or retail PCs, either of which are areas that not just Apple but Toshiba and a handful of other PC makers tend to control. The Texas PC builder has also spent an average of just 1.1 percent of its revenue from the past four years on research to advance PCs where Apple has spent almost three percent, leading to Dell PCs and other devices that are often small iterations on existing themes rather than genuine breakthroughs.
The lack of research may have further compounded Dell's problems by preventing it from exploring new categories or even creating them. CEO Michael Dell had admitted that he hadn't seen tablets catching on and effectively let Apple walk away with a category that promptly started undermining sales of Dell's netbooks and notebooks. Officials have acknowledged that sales of Dell's Streak tablets were low enough to be "immaterial."
Some of its reorganization has at least helped mitigate the effect. It axed superfluous model lines that had originally been brought onboard either to challenge Apple or attempt to fill every possible niche of the home PC business. The XPS 15z should be a way of introducing a model intended to lure potential MacBook candidates but avoid overloading Dell's product line like in the past.