Oct. 1, 2012 at 3:37 PM ET
Ultrabooks are supposed to help satisfy MacBook Air lust — by being thin, light Apple knockoffs for Windows users — but so far this year, they've been priced too high and buyers aren't ready to bite, according to IHS iSuppli.
The research firm expected 22 million ultrabooks would be shipped worldwide in 2012; now the firm says that number will be 10.3 million, and most of those will be in the last quarter of this year.
For 2013, IHS iSuppli had forecast shipments of 61 million ultrabooks; now, it says, it's looking more like 44 million.
"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 a statement.
"This is especially a problem amid all the hype surrounding media tablets and smartphones," he said, specifically citing the iPhone 5, Kindle Fire HD and Microsoft Surface tablet, due out next month. "When combined with other factors, including prohibitively high pricing, this means that ultrabook sales will not meet expectations in 2012."
"High pricing" — at around $1,000 — is definitely an issue when standard laptops still can be bought for much less, many of them budget-priced models at $400 and $500.
"Ultrabooks need to get more systems down to the $600 price range in order to hit the volume level needed to enter the mainstream, down from prices at the $1,000 level now," Stice said.
"If ultrabooks using the new Windows 8 operating system come close to the $600 to $700 range next year, while adding in an attractive new consumer feature such as a touchscreen, a good chance exists for strong sales in 2013. If not — and ultrabooks stay at the $1,000 level — their sales will continue to struggle in 2013 as they must compete against lower-priced options, such as tablets and smartphones."