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PC makers gripe: Intel ultrabooks can't undercut MacBook Air

updated 08:35 am EDT, Wed August 3, 2011

Taiwan builders complain they can't outprice Apple

Intel's ultrabook spec is triggering frustration among Taiwan-area PC builders used to having cheaper machines than Apple, local contacts claimed Wednesday. Chassis guidelines requiring metal shells, solid-state drives, and very efficient lithium-polymer batteries to replicate the MacBook Air prevent the companies from undercutting Apple on price. Unless Intel cuts its own prices, there's no real way to beat the Air, Digitimes was told.

The Intel hardware in a $1,000 system would make up a third of the price by itself.

Some are also supposedly complaining about having to change their notebook manufacturing processes. Not being used to the unified, soldered on designs Apple has been making since 2008, they would have to retool to get away from the traditional, bulkier, piece-by-piece manufacturing they're used to. Intel has been holding workshops with companies to improve methods and the parts themselves.

Local companies like Acer and ASUS have tried competing directly with the MacBook Air in the past but have tried to do so through conventional PC methods. Earlier CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) models like the Acer TimelineX have run below the Air in price but have been thicker, heavier, and less responsive through their construction and dependencies on spinning hard drives. ASUS will be the first Windows designer to have an ultrabook on shelves with the UX21 but may have trouble challenging Apple.

The Air has put the lay to stereotypes of Macs carrying a premium and has been unusually successful for Apple, where the MacBook Pro has usually the dominant but slower-moving model. Rumors have surfaced that the company will ship 1.5 million just this summer and make up a third or more of all Mac sales.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999

    +24

    Awww, poor babies.

    Are we supposed to feel sympathy for these people? Is Intel supposed to sympathize? Too bad. Innovate your way out of it like Apple did.

    And where are the Wintel proponents claiming Apple products are overpriced?

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +8

    Why do consumers need

    to have MacBook Air-type notebooks? They've been doing fine for years with those bulkier notebooks. I'm just saying that those PC manufacturers can just keep selling the heavier models to consumers at a lower cost. Not everyone needs a MacBook Air-class notebook. I'm sure the majority of consumers will happily continue to use the standard design Windows notebook. They're not all going to be lugging them around wherever they go. If that's the case they can go back to using those Windows netbooks that are tiny and underpowered. They'll be lighter and less expensive and good enough for browsing and reading mail.

    All the Wintards claim they can still buy a more powerful notebook than some MacBook Air for far less money and I'm sure they don't care if it's a pound heavier or whatever. The whole deal with Wintards is to save money at all costs. If it's cheap, then it's all good. A Wintard does not need or want a MacBook Air-type notebook. Some AlienWare notebook would be a better choice for them.

  1. ElectroTech

    Junior Member

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +11

    Yugo and Lada are good enough

    Why do we need the Prius. Yogo and Lada are good enough cars for most people. Why should the car companies try to make better cars. Cheap cars are all you really need.

  1. ferdchet

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2011

    +8

    Sounds like

    PC makers need to hire better people.

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jan 2000

    -1

    comment title

    "The Air has put the lay to stereotypes of Macs carrying a premium and has been unusually successful for Apple, where the MacBook Pro has usually the dominant but slower-moving model. "

    Huh?

  1. freddymac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2010

    +2

    Apple owns

    $1000 and above laptop market along with all the profits. They are just jealous. As long as all the other OEM's keep cutting each others throats they will never crack this market.

  1. Rance

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2002

    +3

    you mean...

    they might actually have to compete on features and os, instead of selling the cheapest piece of plastic possible?!@ oh nooooeeeessss!

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    +3

    Re: Huh?

    "The Air has put the lay to stereotypes of Macs carrying a premium ..."

    And Apple's doing the laying. In other words, PC makers, you're effed!

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -8

    Re: you mean...

    they might actually have to compete on features and os, instead of selling the cheapest piece of plastic possible?!@ oh nooooeeeessss!

    You can't compare PCs to Macs on features. Um, unless, I guess, the Mac has more features. Then it's OK. But if the PC was less money but had more features (wow, it's got USB 3 and eSATA and an ExpressCard slot), we'd hear how it isn't about specs or features but how it all works together as one and so on and so on.

  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    -1

    PC mfgrs...

    somehow still have it stuck in their head that hardware is what it is all about, and specs., and this and that. If that were so, their sheer volume of the PC market would win for them. The problem is however, when I am in a PC and Mac repair place I notice that some PC people KEEP their machines, in many instances, forever... I've seen people try to milk the last ounce out of Windows95 because they are simply too cheap to get a new machine with Win7 on it. A machine which is far cheaper than the one they are saving was. They also have many fears of transferring data and having to learn something new. The last time they were in that repair shop was probably the last time someone told them they had to reformat their hard drive... the stop gap solution to EVERY hardware problem and software problem. BTW, you can tell if a Mac repairman was a former PC devotee because when someone brings a Mac in to be looked at, the instant response is, "We'll have to reformat your hard drive!"

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