back to article Apple 'less innovative' at laptops than Lenovo

Asus and Lenovo both offer more innovative Ultrabook-style laptops than Apple, though the Mac maker has the pair of them licked when it comes to implementing that innovation. So says market watcher ABI Research, which reckons Apple “outscores its rivals significantly in implementation” if not in innovation. For proof, look no …


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  1. Jamie Kitson


    It would be good to get some detail on the innovations, which features and models? Or even a link to the report?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some detail on the innovations?

      "It would be good to get some detail on the innovations, which features and models? Or even a link to the report?"

      There isn't any ' innovations', ABI Research can't think of anything concretely positive to say about the ultrabook. See a video of an Asus Zenbook compared to a MacBook Air

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Mondo the Magnificent

        Re: Some detail on the innovations?

        Yes there are indeed some innovations...

        Like the two button touchpad that allows Asus and Lenovo owners to atually "right click"

        Fucking amazing suff...

        1. Chad H.

          Right click

          The mac has that. Just apply two fingers anywhere on the track pad much like how one uses one finger to click.

          Much nicer than pushing an obscure part of a trackpad like other makes.

          But hey, don't let a little fact get in the way of your rant, more popcorn please.

          1. JEDIDIAH

            Re: Right click

            Using two fingers is nothing like using just one finger.

            Talk about obscure.

            At least the bit about "secret corners" on the trackpad has some possibility of being something the user has seen before and can relate too. It's less of a "secret handshake".

            1. Chad H.

              Re: Right click

              Yes, its so much of a secret they include it in the start up video.

  2. Lord Zedd

    In the end

    Yet in the end, Asus and Lenovo are both simply trying to copy Apple's Macbook Air.

    1. Stuart 22 Silver badge

      Re: In the end

      Or is it Asus & Lenovo are finessing Apple?

      This must be a good thing for joe public (well those more interested in functionality rather than branding). It would help if Apple responded by finessing Asus & Lenovo rather than look for any excuse to sue them.

    2. Greg Williams

      Re: In the end

      From what I understand, the Macbook Air was actually co-designed with Intel anyway to set the design language for the Ultrabook standard which Intel was trying to set in motion. I don't think Apple really deserve that much credit here other than perhaps some of the less important 'shiny' touches.

      The tapered, thin shape is a natural answer to the form factor in that at the rear things have to be thicker, but not so necessary at the front. I wouldn't say Asus et al. copied it, merely that they came to the same conclusion.

      I will admit that as a piece of PC-Hardware kit, I love the Macbook Air but, as I despise Mac OS, I would be running something else on it anyway from the time it was delivered. That is of course all assuming I could swallow the price, which I cannot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In the end

        >From what I understand, the Macbook Air was actually co-designed with Intel anyway

        Yep - and the Mac Book Pro was originally co-designed and manufactured by Asus.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In the end

        You understand wrong. Apple worked with Intel to design a special version of the CPU that would allow them to fit the thin form factor they were wanting. Originally it was an Apple only SKU, it was only after Apple saw some success selling the Air and PC OEMs started asking Intel about it that they added the SKU to their general price list.

        Apple didn't invent the idea of "a laptop, just thinner", but they did a better job of it than any PC OEM had done before, because they were willing to make compromises to make it as thin as possible, such as dumping the DVD drive.

        Once it became successful Intel apparently decided that it would be a winning formula in the PC world and defined the "Ultrabook", but in defining it to be of similar thinness and build quality as Apple was using, it has proved a bit too expensive to be as successful in the PC market as Intel hoped. Apple's Macbook Air doesn't have to compete against low end $300 Mac laptops, but PC ultrabooks do, which limits their potential market share.

        1. Greg Williams

          Re: In the end

          You are referring to the CPU design only for the initial Macbook Air.

          The design of the second-generation MBA was however another story.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One has been returned once, the second taken back to the shop for replacement twice. The wifi on both units today is still iffy and there are buggy little issues with both. My Sony VAIO is two years old and has more functionality than the Mac Books.

    Build Quality - is OK

    Innovation - Huh? There is nothing innovative save the thin case, crap battery life and resulting problems the ultra thin components cause.

    Cost - Staggering how much people will pay for a logo.

    Apple - Good marketing you pay through the nose for and not much else.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have they matched the screen resolution of Apple's offerings? nope.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      is that it? is that all you can point to? really?

      1. jason 7

        Hmm yes Retina screens that would be more useful on a 27"+ screen than a 13" one.

        Retina screens that probably cost $20 more than a 1440x900 but can amazingly transform into $300 extra when it hits the shelves.

        Cart before horse?

      2. Son of Steve

        Yeah, who needs retina resolution. Or pioneering unibody cases laser-etched from aluminium. Or backlit keyboards, cut from the aluminium to make the keyboard firmer. Or integrated batteries making the machine both thinner and firmer. Or build- and component-quality that is industry-leading. Or glass multi-touch trackpads. Or abandoning optical drives and other IO to emphasise thinness and lightness. And all this in the past four years, really starting with the original MacBook Air.

        Yep, you're right, Apple's innovation with laptops is a joke and some moron will pay double just for the logo.

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Lifestyle choices are not innovation...

          Making the machine less maintainable so that it can be prettier is not "innovation". It's a lifestyle choice and being a slave to fashion.

          Apple just makes more noise about doing it. They are great at marketing and they have a willing cabal of astroturfers.

        2. jason 7

          Oh you mean all those innovations that just mean if it breaks there is a large chance it just goes into landfill?

          A friend of mine who chose to repair Apple gear for a living has now given up. Not because Apple gear is more reliable, oh no, he had people queueing round the block with failed and broken Apple goodness. No shortage of punters.

          He had to give up because every year they just get less repairable. Just wasn't worth his while or the techniques were getting too complicated to make it financially worth it for the customer.

          £700 to fix a coffee spill anyone?

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Yeah, who needs...

          I don't need, or want, any of those things. I'm a bit puzzled that anyone "needs" any of them, to be honest.

    2. Captain Save-a-ho

      Absolutely right

      Asus doesn't meet the Macbook Air display specs. At 1920x1080 for the Zenbook Prime, it demolishes them.

  5. Stretch

    "when it comes to..."

    ...brainwashing the sheeple.

  6. Stoneshop Silver badge


    Sales figures are a direct measurement for the amount of innovation manufacturers manage to cram into their products? And there I was, thinking it had to do with marketing, price, performance and bling. Silly me.

  7. tin 2

    One thing missing surely

    Apples whatever-it-is has OSX and everyone else's has Windows. Surely for a lot of the population (those that aren't hardware geek/snobs) that's the bit they're bothered about?

    Say I'm desperate for something that runs OSX, I'm not going to buy a Lenovo because the hardware is either cheaper or more innovative.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet oddly enough they've managed to innovate a 13 inch Ultrabook that has a better than 1366x768 screen res. Presumably via some magic incantation to the Elder Gods, since there's presumably no possible other way to have accomplished this astounding feat of product design foresight and engineering, as every other manufacturer on the planet could attest with their identikit offerings.

    1. Hieronymus Howerd

      You're confusing innovation and implementation.

      For example, I've just innovated a 13" Ultrabook with a 1600*1200 screen. It cooks me breakfast and walks the dog. I haven't implemented it yet.

      See how it works?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Greg Williams

      Besides the obvious vocabularly issues, you forget that there are examples out there from other manufacturers, such as Asus for example, which are available with 1600 x 900 and 1920 x 1080 screens in their 13 inch ultrabooks.

    4. Simon Harris

      Considering my last 3 laptops, in order, had screen resolutions of 1600x1200, 1280x800 and 1366x768...

      ... eventually I think we'll end up back in the days of the AIM65, Acorn System 1, etc. with a single line display!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "MacBook Air’s “dominant market share" becuase titheads keep banging on with the same old shite like "Asus and Lenovo both offer more innovative Ultrabook-style laptops than Apple, though the Mac maker has the pair of them licked when it comes to implementing that innovation."

    Thankfully the majority have not fallen for the crap and are intelligent enough to make their own decision and are not swayed by what someone else thinks is (eurgh!) cool (now i feel dirty).


  10. ratfox

    For me, Apple has a significant advantage

    Which is that its laptops do not come with a crap OS.

    …To elaborate a bit: Mac OS X is a Unix-based OS which does not suffer from driver problems. The first point eliminates Windows, and the second eliminates Linux.

    Of course, other people have different criteria.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: For me, Apple has a significant advantage

      Odd, on my admittedly small sample, every laptop, desktop and notebook I have installed Linux (Ubuntu, with Unity!!) on has worked in every respect. No driver issues whatsoever.

      May I ask when you last tried Linux on a laptop? And which one it was?

      1. ratfox

        Re: For me, Apple has a significant advantage

        I do have a desktop running on Linux, running a version of Ubuntu 10. I regularly have problems with pop-up menus which refuse to disappear unless I quit the application, and people more knowledgeable than me say that this is a problem with nVidia drivers (I think Linus Torvalds had something to say about nVidia and their drivers).

        Admittedly, my last laptop running on Linux was back in 2008.

        1. James Hughes 1

          Re: For me, Apple has a significant advantage

          Ubuntu 10 is pretty old now, might be worth upgrading, I htink 12.04 is the most recent LTS. I'm not seeing any issues with my couple of year old desktop and that has Nvidia graphics using the Nvidia driver.

        2. Ramazan

          Re: popup menus disappear when application quits

          So the problem isn't with nVidia drivers obviously. Not that there aren't problems with nVidia drivers in Linux at all, just not these. With laptops there are a lot of proprietary crap and bad choices of hardware, especially in Sony laptops (e.g. camera in UX), but situation with drivers is significantly better than with Windows (XP 64, anyone? Support for SB16 in Windows 8 Pro? Bluetooth stacks other than IIRC Broadcom?)

      2. Lil Pete

        Re: For me, Apple has a significant advantage

        I'd second that, apart from a problem using the official ATI Driver and Unity I've never run into a problem. Even then removing the offending driver removed my problem and the OpenSource driver works fine!

      3. myob

        Re: For me, Apple has a significant advantage

        A year ago, ubuntu could not set native resolution on the display in my black macbook, FWIW.

    2. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: For me, Apple has a significant advantage

      CentOS 6 on recycled 12.1" Lenovo thinkpad with Intel graphics. Cost me less than some people spend on messenger bags. Works fine. Has a reassuringly 'industrial' look according to the other half. To each his/her own.

      Coat icon: I'm the one doing Impress slides on the 0739.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty obvious really

    Apple outsell the rest for a simple reason:

    Apple owners will pay loads of cash for the latest shiny, no matter the cost, how good their existing kit is or whether they need the extra power, storage or high-res screen.

    The rest of the world sees ultrabook prices and says "fuck that" to the cost.

    Having a high-res screen isn't innovation. Developing it, building it, maybe, using it, no.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pretty obvious really

      Apple outsell the rest for a simple reason:

      Apple owners have different criteria for deciding what they want to spend their money on, no matter what someone with different criteria says out of a misguided feeling of superiority. (Naturally when making sweeping generalisations it's also wise to ignore the fact that until quite recently the MacBook Air was cheaper than equivalent specification ultrabooks from other manufacturers.)

      The rest of the world also have different criteria and decide not to buy windows based ultrabooks for their own reasons.

      Having a high-res screen isn't innovation. Developing it, building it and shipping it three years before anyone else, yes.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: Pretty obvious really

        Was it Apple that developed the screen, or the screen supplier? I presume it went like this.

        Apple : We want a higher res screen at same thickness

        Supplier: Er, OK, we can do the dev work on that for you, and then you buy loads - M'Kay?

        Apple: ..but don't sell them to anyone else, M'Kay...

        Supplier; M'Kay.

        Apple : We also need a faster GPU to run the higher res screen

        Supplier2 (Imagination Tech) : M'kay, we'll do the dev work on that then you buy loads, M'kay

        Apple : M'kay.

        So suppliers do the R&D and building, Apple, really, just gave them a spec, which I don't really regard as innovation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Subsitute Lenovo or Asus

          And what do you get?

          A virtually similar scenario

  12. Robert Grant Silver badge

    ABI Research...

    ...think that implementation is marketing?

  13. Silverburn

    Lacks innovation?

    A strange thing to claim, given you can't actually imperically measure "innovation". Innovation is perceptive and subjective.

    Some people will weight the finger print scanner has greater innovation than a thin form factor. To others, it could be the other way round. Backlit keyboard vs Thinkvantage support? The same. It's all bollox.

    Nothing to see here - keep calm and carry on.

  14. jeremyjh

    Apple-hating folk are as irrational as the sheeplike masses.

    Apple's products are very good. They're less exciting than they were, but still very good.

    I use Macs because I like Mac OS. I use Macs because they tend to irritate me less than Windows. I knowingly and willingly pay a premium for this.

    I use iPhone because I like iOS. I use an iPhone because it tends to irritate me less than Android phones do. I knowingly and willingly pay a premium for this.

    I use an iPad because I like it. I still think iOS has the edge as a tablet operating system. It has the best catalogue of tablet apps.


    I don't think people who choose other devices, be they Windows, Android, or whatever else, are stupid or have made the wrong choice. As long as people have thought about the device they buy in a rational way, taken some advice (not necessarily from me, before you ask), confirmed that the device will do what they want in a way that suits them, then that's all good and well.

    And yes, one valid reason might be that they might be able to get pretty much the same functionality as I've just admitted to having above for the thick end of a grand less than I paid.

    A pint because quite a lot of people should probably chill out a bit, preferably with ale.

    1. Chad H.

      Re: Apple-hating folk are as irrational as the sheeplike masses.

      Careful Jeremy, we might end up with an outbreak of common sense.

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  16. Ramazan

    Apple less innovative in laptops than Lenowho?

    Sony X505VP, Sony U1, Sony U3, Sony U101, Sony U50, Sony UX series, Sony TZ series, MacBook Air but Lenowhat? Are you joking?

  17. David Glasgow

    You're all over complicating it

    The manufacturers are in alphabetical order.

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