Thursday, March 30, 2017
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Mid Computex blues: Apple still to have the Ultimate UltraBook?

Midway through the Computex, and dozens of ultrathins – including AMD and ARM based ones, some thoughts come to our minds…

On the first day of Computex, Intel's Kirk Skaugen showed that the PC Client division somehow passes him way better than the gruesome powerful servers he was handling until recently. And, yes, all the UltraBook goodies, now in the Ivy Bridge generation, were the stars of the show. Me being an idealist, I dearly hoped that at least some vendors will use the new CPUs improved graphics speed and resolution handling, therefore coming out with some models that have proper screens at least matching what modern $500 high end tablets have – 1920×1200 16:10 aspect screen is not much to ask for? If Asus Transformer and Huawei MediaPad have it, why can't any vendor's UltraBook?

Well, to my disappointment, so many new models didn't improve on this at all! 1366×768 and 1600×900 shared the podium, both still in the unproductive irritating 16:9 movie watching aspect ratio (hey, tablets are for movie watching, notebooks are for work first!). OK yes, Asus and a few had 1920×1080 Full HD screens, but that's a few among the many… what to do.

One thing jarred my eyes, literally – Toshiba came out with a 'concept model' having, guess what, 21:9 screen. While the unlucky cross-eyed among us may actually like such a wiiiiiide screen, any attempt to actually do anything on a stretched out 1792×768 screen aside from, of course, watching a wiiiiiiide movie, would be useless. Try typing a document in MS Word or alike? After the menus and bars are blown up to be actually visible, you can see maybe 3 lines of text at a time, having to incessantly scroll till either your fingers or your pointing device give way.

Remember, the story about 'must 16:9' was to save those few bucks on the panels so that the vendors cut glass cheaper, at the expense of our productivity. Now, isn't 21:9 a more expensive custom format that doesn't fit this 'price-sensitive' mentally myopic attitude so common in Taiwan and Korea IT industry, especially the LCD gang? Why not do the 16:10 then?

Well, as the recent rumours show, Apple is gonna do exactly that for their upcoming MacBook Pro ultrathin refresh. Now, we'll have 15-inch 2560×1600 retina resolution 16:10 screen driven by the highest-speed Ivy Bridge ULV part, 16 GB DDR3-1600 RAM and so on… just add touchscreen and convertibilty, and you got the best of everything – super graphics, productivity, speed, and of course the looks. As much as I personally dislike the company, this is the first Apple product I may actually want to buy… hey 'PC vendors', wake up!!! The Ultimate UltraBook will still be from Apple, and it's all your own fault!
 

Nebojsa Novakovic
In the spare time over the past two decades, editor and writer of high-end computer hardware and design features and analysis for European and US media and analyst houses. Reviews of high end hardware are my specialty for 28 years already.

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