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By | Phil Muncaster 24th January 2012 18:04

Ultrabooks will devour notebook biz by 2016 - report

MacBook Air threatened as Intel slimbooks get cheaper

All notebooks will look like Ultrabooks in five years' time as vendors find cheaper ways of offering the shiny Intel-based machines, according to a new report. The report's author also speculated that this move could force Apple to ditch its MacBook Air and look for a new form factor to invent.

A new Juniper Research forecast predicts Ultrabooks will grow at three times the rate of tablets over the next five years, although tablet shipments will still remain far higher – 253 million in 2016 compared with 178 million Ultrabooks, the firm said.

Report author Daniel Ashdown told The Register that the iPad and its ilk would continue to dominate thanks to their lower cost, which makes them more attractive than Ultrabooks in emerging markets and as companion devices.

However, the Ultrabook category launched by Intel to great fanfare at Computex last year will come down in price over the coming five years as component costs across the board come down. Manufacturers will also make storage more affordable by building hybrid devices or even offering more storage capacity in the cloud.

Ashdown added that hardware-makers would begin producing cheaper ‘Ultrabook-lite’ models, which have a similar look and feel but lower specs.

“All notebooks in five years’ time will look like Ultrabooks; it’s just the way things are going. But I can’t see Apple dropping the price of its MacBook Air because it is not a value player,” said Ashdown.

“It’ll be very interesting to see if Apple comes out and invents another form factor. I could see it happening.”

The report also claims that Windows 8 will be a massive driver for Ultrabooks when Microsoft and Intel’s next-gen Ivy Bridge chips are released later this year.

However, netbook shipments in 2016 are likely to be just a third of what they are today as tablets and high performance notebooks steal their thunder. ®

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