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While the spotlight was on Qualcomm's latest processor for next-gen Copilot+PCs yesterday, Intel promises 'Lunar Lake' will beat X Elite

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Yesterday we posted a report titled "Microsoft has Unveiled their new Copilot+PC Surface Pro and Laptop Powered by Qualcomm's ARM-based Snapdragon X Elite Processor." One aspect of our report covered Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X Elite processor series that was designed by ex-Apple engineering leaders to take on Apple's M3 processor and beyond.

Yesterday, The Verge posted an interesting article titled "Inside Microsoft's mission to take down the MacBook Air."  Microsoft has been attempting to challenge MacBook for years and have failed miserably. With the Snapdragon X Elite processor, Microsoft had their partners HP, Dell, ASUS, Lenovo and Samsung to jump onboard the "Copilot+PC" bandwagon right out of the gate.

Yesterday, Qualcomm posted a report titled "Snapdragon X Series is the Exclusive Platform to Power the Next Generation of Windows Copilot+PCs." The title tells it all. The classic "Wintel" exclusivity is dead. Now Intel has to prove they have chips that could compete with Apple's ARM processors on an ongoing basis. Microsoft won't be held back by Intel any longer.

Now Intel wants to get in on the wave of headlines coming out of Microsoft's product event. Intel announced that their upcoming "Lunar Lake" CPU will beat the Snapdragon X Elite.

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While it won't debut until later this year, Intel will reveal  its next-gen Core Ultra mobile chips, code-named “Lunar Lake,” in roughly a week’s time.

Intel announced yesterday that starting Q3 2024 in time for the holiday season, Intel’s upcoming client processors (code-named Lunar Lake) will power more than 80 new laptop designs across more than 20 original equipment manufacturers, delivering AI performance at a global scale for Copilot+ PCs.  Lunar Lake will get the Copilot+ experiences, like Recall, via an update when available. Building on the success of Intel Core™ Ultra processors and with the addition of Lunar Lake, Intel will ship more than 40 million AI PC processors this year.

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What the AI PC is: An AI PC has a central processing unit (CPU), a graphic processing unit (GPU) and a neural processing unit (NPU), each with specific AI acceleration capabilities. An NPU is a specialized accelerator that efficiently handles AI and machine learning (ML) tasks right on your PC instead of sending data to be processed in the cloud. The AI PC is increasingly important as the need to automate, streamline and optimize tasks on the PC grows.

Why It Matters: Lunar Lake is expected to be a groundbreaking mobile processor for AI PCs with more than 3 times the AI performance compared with the previous generation. With more than 40 NPU tera operations per second (TOPS), Intel’s next generation processors will provide the capabilities necessary for Copilot+ experiences coming to market. In addition to the higher performing NPU, Lunar Lake will also be equipped with over 60 GPU TOPS delivering more than 100 platform TOPS.

“The launch of Lunar Lake will bring meaningful fundamental improvements across security, battery life, and more thanks to our deep co-engineering partnership with Intel. We are excited to see Lunar Lake come to market with a 40+ TOPS NPU which will deliver Microsoft’s Copilot+ experiences at scale when available,” said Pavan Davuluri, corporate vice president of Windows + Devices at Microsoft.

A holistic approach to AI requires a robust software enablement infrastructure alongside hardware innovation. As part of the AI PC Acceleration Program, Intel is working with more than 100 independent software vendors to enhance AI PC experiences for personal assistants, audio effects, content creation, gaming, security, streaming, video collaboration and others.   

While I found it humorous that Intel borrowed Apple's long standing line of taking "a holistic approach," it's clear that Intel will have to fight like hell for notebook and desktop  business over the next 6-12 months with Qualcomm and AMD that could benefit PC consumers. The industry needs to shake things up and get consumers enmass to upgrade for the sake of the industry.

For Apple fans, this is likewise good news as Apple will have to dig deeper to keep their lead in notebook performance and this will make WWDC24 all the more meaningful and exciting as the competition will really heat up this fall with AI at the center of everything.

For some, Microsoft's advantage is still that their Surface Pro is a tablet that runs Windows 11 (or 12) instead of Apple fans needing macOS for MacBooks and iPadOS for iPad – a very expensive combination that's out of reach for most, depending on the models chosen.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman noted this in his recent newsletter that "The iPad Pro now has a better chip than most of the Mac lineup, an awesome new keyboard case and a screen that blows away the displays on Apple’s laptops. However, the iPad’s software continues to be a weak spot — and that’s the company’s fault.

Apple’s marketing brass has made no secret that it wants to keep differentiating the iPad and the Mac because it doesn’t want the products to cannibalize each other. But that only makes the devices weaker: The iPad lacks macOS, and the Mac doesn’t have a touch screen." I think Gurman knows that many Apple fans are frustrated with this current situation

The thing is that Apple actually patented a hybrid device back in 2011 (made public in 2013) that would have given Apple fans the best of both worlds. But greed made sure that option never saw the light of day. Yet Apple's engineers are still working on next-gen hybrid devices like this one and others. So you never know what could be in the works.

For now, Qualcomm, Intel, AMD and Microsoft have a single mission: Beat Apple's MacBooks and retake the sector back by storm.

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