updated 11:15 pm EST, Tue February 21, 2012
Intel Ivy Bridge may get lower prices on average
Intel may make up for its Ivy Bridge processor delay by selling at substantially lower prices. New rumors from part suppliers claimed to Digitimes that processor prices would typically be $60 to $70 lower, presumably relative to the current-generation Sandy Bridge-era chips. The move could lead to faster processors at similar prices or, more likely, less expensive systems overall.
The cut could be important to everyone, but most of all Windows ultrabook designers eager to get costs down. Many of them are reportedly trying to create a wider price gap between themselves and the MacBook Air and are considering using slower but cheaper hybrid hard drives, where a small solid-state drive exists only as a cache to speed up a traditional rotating hard drive. They may get to under $700 where pure solid-state notebooks are often closer to $1,000.
Intel hasn't confirmed any pricing details and might not ship the first Ivy Bridge processors until April, with dual-core mobile processors possibly waiting until June. Any pricing might consequently still be undetermined even if the cuts are accurate.
The lower prices might be necessary regardless of individual manufacturers. Intel had set a goal for 40 percent of all notebooks to be ultrabooks by 2013, but current predictions had just 20 percent reaching that target. Apple has so far continued to define the category where Acer, ASUS, and others haven't had room to to significantly undercut the MacBook Air with their own systems. The field plays into Apple's strong points of very thin and light designs, long battery life, and high performance.