Apple cedes Intel favoured nation status to Microsoft and Dell


After all of the noise surrounding Apple’s special relationship with Intel when it first launched the Macbook Air the IT press have been strangely quiet about it ending[1].

Intel’s 6th generation ‘Skylake‘ Core CPUs have been out for a few weeks now, and it seems like the only machines you can buy them in come from Microsoft and Dell.

This is a big deal for me, as it means that it’s possible once again to get travel size/weight laptops with 16GB RAM and decent size SSDs, so I can finally replace my almost 3 year old Lenovo X230. If I had to buy a laptop today I’d be torn between Dell’s XPS13 and the Microsoft Surface Book (and MS would probably get my money as they offer 1TB SSD for the Surface Book and Microsoft Surface Pro 4, even if it is a ridiculously pricey upgrade versus the cost of mSATA drives).

If the roll out of the new chips follows the usual pattern of other OEMs getting parts 3-4 months later this means that we can expect to see new Macbooks, Macbook Airs, Macbook Pros, ThinkPads etc. some time in the new year (perhaps with announcements at CES and shipping a little while later).

There’s some speculation that Apple looked at x86 chips for the iPad Pro, and the decision to go with ARM might have soured the Intel relationship, so it’s easy to see why the ‘WinTel’ relationship might grow stronger with Microsoft – especially now that they’re making such great devices (having escaped from Intel’s ‘Ultrabook‘ branding monoculture). It’s less clear how Dell got one over Lenovo and HP (and Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Sony etc.).

So the good news is that it’s finally possible to buy a decent laptop again. The bad news is that any chance of a 16GB Macbook is deferred, and I’ll also have to wait for something with a trackpoint (which I’ve always prefered over trackpads).


[1] It seems that the tech investor community have noticed.

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