Intel is about to muscle up, scale down, and take a serious shot at marginalising Apple's iPad among business buyers.
The campaign started at Computex with the launch of the Core M just-for-typoslabs 14nm silicon.
It is important to understand that Core-M is not just a new piece of “marketechture”. Instead it is a fully-fledged platform/brand with the same stature of the Centrino moniker Intel used to denote the presence of integrated WiFi in laptops of the early 2000s.* The 14nm Broadwell-based Core M is all about four things:
- Low, low, power use, to deliver all-day-without-plugging-in operations;
- Size, the smaller the better;
- Giving tablets enough grunt to handle anything a PC can do;
Intel has focussed its efforts on bringing those qualities to typoslabs, aka two-in-one laptops whose screens separate to become tablets, because it wants to make sure such devices represent a strong alternative to tablets and especially tablets running ARM chippery.
Chipzilla's plans rests on the vPro version of the Core M. The extra manageability vPro brings to the typoslab platform will be pitched squarely at businesses, especially those contemplating or already implementing bring your own device regimes.
The Reg has beheld Intel's Core-M-powered Llama Mountain reference design for business typoslabs. If OEMs improve on it even a little, it will allow the creation of very attractive devices because it already offers a colossal and light tablet. Intel has hinted to us that it expects to see very interesting creations based on Llama Mountain by the end of the year. ASUS has already shown OEMs are willing to get mighty innovative, if a bit weird, with its five-in-one Windows/Android/phone/typoslab/tablet.
Intel and partners will point out, pointedly, that it is entirely possible for end-users to be very productive even if they can't have an iPad. We can expect Apple's iOS to be portrayed as an unwelcome silo of hard-to-manage quirkiness, never mind that it now runs Office. A subtext will point out that employees' kids are as excited, or maybe more so, about the prospect of a BYOD iPad coming home than employees themselves. Which isn't really the point of BYOD, is it?
Windows typoslabs will be positioned as the best of all possible words. Workers get a tablet that – thanks to its dual role as a laptop screen – has a larger display than current iPads.
Managers get the knowledge their team always have a mobile device capable of running the applications they've built for Windows. Even demanding applications will be fine – if Intel can get its fan docks that allow Core M to run at its highest clock speed accepted by OEMs and buyers.
IT departments get PCs everywhere, which whether they particularly enjoy it or not is a mode of operations with which they should be familiar. IT folks will also be freed from the need to contemplate new middleware – yes, we're looking at YOU, Citrix and VMware – to funnel apps to fondleslabs.
Surface is one of Microsoft's contributions to the pincer movement, because its mere existence helps to legitimise the typoslab concept. Redmond also provides the cloud services needed to make mobile working less dependent on the C: Drive, and therefore more resilient.
Universal applications, Redmond's plans for write-once, run on PCs-and-smartmobes, helps things along by making it easier to bring apps into typoslabs.
Yes, Microsoft isn't helping things by offering Office on the iPad, as doing so gives Apple's creation a more natural place in business. But typoslabs' keyboards mean it is possible to use more of the suite's features in the field. Expect this to be pointed out with messaging about typoslabs being grand tools for content consumption and content creation.
The stars are lining up for Intel's assault, as the tablet market is already cooling off, as are iPad sales. Anecdotally, the slowdown is because users are tired of schlepping three devices around all day.
Intel and friends will try to take advantage of those circumstances and the fact that first-and-second-generation iPads are now approaching end-of-life to make the Windows typoslab the IT department's replacement of choice.
Will IT departments bite?
You tell us, dear readers. ®
* Yes, Intel also tried this approach – and failed rather miserably – with the ViiV media PC spec. It also succeeded with vPro and in this industry two out of three ain't bad.