Analysts slash Ultrabook sales estimate by over 50%

Global 'meh' over overpriced laptops


Analyst house IHS iSuppli has slashed its forecast for Ultrabook sales by more than half for this year, and the outlook for 2013 could hardly be described as rosy, as well.

Earlier in the year, iSuppli predicted that 22 million of the svelte laptops would ship by the end of 2012, but it's now cut that forecast to 10.3 million. It's hedging its bets even further by saying the platform will need a lot of sales in the last quarter to meet even that new target. iSuppli's Ultrabook sales estimate for 2013 has also fallen, from 61 to 44 million units.

"So far, the PC industry has failed to create the kind of buzz and excitement among consumers that is required to propel ultrabooks into the mainstream," said Craig Stice, senior principal analyst for compute platforms at IHS in an emailed statement.

"This is especially a problem amid all the hype surrounding media tablets and smartphones," he writes. "When combined with other factors, including prohibitively high pricing, this means that ultrabook sales will not meet expectations in 2012."

Quite simply the platform is overpriced, undersold, and no one – outside of Intel – appears very excited about it. iSuppli's latest figures look very optimistic, with Q4 sales needing to outpace all Ultrabook sales for the rest of the year combined to make the reduced targets. The analyst's figures for 2013 look even more pie-in-the-sky to this El Reg hack.

utlrabooks sales

Even the revised figures look a little optimistic

The basic problem for Ultrabooks at the moment is one of price, Stice explained. Intel's original vision for the platform was for a price point of around $600, but even with the $300m in support and subsidies that Chipzilla is pushing out to manufacturers, prices are much closer to a grand – and at that price, customers aren't biting.

Sure, Apple has the high-end of the laptop market paying much more than that, but its customer base is used to paying top dollar, whereas PC users are more thifty. At the same time, smartphones are getting more powerful and tablets are appealing to those that want portability without having to lug around an entire laptop.

"With the economy languishing, ultrabook sellers may have trouble finding buyers at the current pricing," Stice said, "especially with fierce competition from new mobile computing gadgets such as the iPhone 5, Kindle Fire HD and forthcoming Microsoft Surface."

As El Reg pointed out back in July, Intel is going to take a beating on Ultrabooks for quite some time. As things stand, manufacturers aren't that keen on the lower margins they'll be getting, SSD drive prices remain higher than they might have been expected to be thanks to the floods in the Far East, and the economy remains in the doldrums.

In the meantime, Microsoft has its Surface platform, there are new iPads, and Android and Windows RT fondleslabs are coming onto the market. As of today, Ultrabook is looking suspiciously close to Itanium in the history of great Intel cock-ups. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Intel details advances to make upcoming chips faster, less costly
    X86 giant says it’s on track to regaining manufacturing leadership after years of missteps

    By now, you likely know the story: Intel made major manufacturing missteps over the past several years, giving rivals like AMD a major advantage, and now the x86 giant is in the midst of an ambitious five-year plan to regain its chip-making mojo.

    This week, Intel is expected to detail just how it's going to make chips in the near future that are faster, less costly and more reliable from a manufacturing standpoint at the 2022 IEEE Symposium on VLSI Technology and Circuits, which begins on Monday. The Register and other media outlets were given a sneak peek in a briefing last week.

    The details surround Intel 4, the manufacturing node previously known as the chipmaker's 7nm process. Intel plans to use the node for products entering the market next year, which includes the compute tiles for the Meteor Lake CPUs for PCs and the Granite Rapids server chips.

    Continue reading
  • Workers win vote to form first-ever US Apple Store union
    Results set to be ratified by labor board by end of the week

    Workers at an Apple Store in Towson, Maryland have voted to form a union, making them the first of the iGiant's retail staff to do so in the United States.

    Out of 110 eligible voters, 65 employees voted in support of unionization versus 33 who voted against it. The organizing committee, known as the Coalition of Organized Retail Employees (CORE), has now filed to certify the results with America's National Labor Relations Board. Members joining this first-ever US Apple Store union will be represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

    "I applaud the courage displayed by CORE members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory," IAM's international president Robert Martinez Jr said in a statement on Saturday. "They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election."

    Continue reading
  • Intel withholds Ohio fab ceremony over US chip subsidies inaction
    $20b factory construction start date unchanged – but the x86 giant is not happy

    Intel has found a new way to voice its displeasure over Congress' inability to pass $52 billion in subsidies to expand US semiconductor manufacturing: withholding a planned groundbreaking ceremony for its $20 billion fab mega-site in Ohio that stands to benefit from the federal funding.

    The Wall Street Journal reported that Intel was tentatively scheduled to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the Ohio manufacturing site with state and federal bigwigs on July 22. But, in an email seen by the newspaper, the x86 giant told officials Wednesday it was indefinitely delaying the festivities "due in part to uncertainty around" the stalled Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act.

    That proposed law authorizes the aforementioned subsidies for Intel and others, and so its delay is holding back funding for the chipmakers.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022