Intel's New Ultrabook Feature is Bad News for Apple's MacBook Air
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) has announced that it is teaming up with Integrated Device Technology Inc. to produce new materials that will allow Ultrabooks to wirelessly charge mobile phones.
No price or release date has been set for the technology, which will eventually make its way into select Ultrabook models. According to EE Times, Integrated Device Technology hopes to provide Intel with samples of one key component, the resonance receiver IC, by the end of the year. Samples of the transmitter IC should be ready sometime in the first half of 2013.
Intel has been hyping the prospects of wireless charging for more than a year. The company hopes that it can use this and other new technologies to help Ultrabooks stand apart from the MacBook Air, Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) wafer-thin line of laptops.
Thus far, Ultrabook sales have yet to make an impact in retail. In fact, some have speculated that the promise of improved Ultrabooks, (combined with the upcoming release of Windows 8), may have actually hurt PC sales as consumers wait for the next best thing to be released. However, this problem is not exclusive to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows-based PCs. Sales of the iPhone 4S have slowed dramatically as consumers prepare for the long-awaited iPhone 5.
While Apple's overall sales are still very strong, Intel recently missed revenue estimates and disappointed investors with lighter third quarter expectations. The company might have to revise its entire 2012 PC forecast due to slumping sales.
Over the past six months, Intel's shares have been all over the place. After achieving a year-to-date high of $29.18 on May 2, the company began experiencing a downward trend. There have been a few peaks in between, but the chip maker continues to suffer. Intel closed yesterday at $24.67 -- just pennies away from the firm's year-to-date low of $24.54, which occurred at the start of the year on January 3.
Intel needs to do something significant if it hopes to turn the company around, and achieving a lower price point may not be enough. However, if the company can bring wireless charging to the masses and allow users to power their smartphones with an Ultrabook, Intel might finally be headed in the right direction.
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