During a Southern California event hosted by Intel's venture capital arm, Kirk Skaugen, Intel's SVP in charge of Intel's PC chip business, reported surprising signs of life in the PC sector that has been enjoying signs of a comeback of late. According to Skaugen, there are three major changes coming to PC's next year that may be able to fuel continued growth for this segment of the market.
New Wireless Technology Coming
Skaugen demonstrated three areas of technology at the event that are earmarked for next year's Intel based PC's. The first relates to new radio-based technologies. Laptop users will be able to set a laptop on a table and immediately view their computer's screen mirrored on a desktop display without the need to plug in anything.
As for getting rid of the biggest annoyance–the power-supply brick that weighs down laptop users–Intel is backing technology that can be stuck to the underside of a table and send a charging signal through two inches of wood. The technology doesn't need to be positioned as precisely as other wireless charging technologies, Skaugen said, and it can charge multiple devices at once.
We covered this very technology in our December 2013 report titled "The Cordless Home is now in Reach with Magnetic Resonance." As for charging multiple devices at once, we covered Apple's patent filing on this capability and the key patent figure is noted below.
Intel to YAP it up in 2015
To unlock PCs without the need to remember a word or phrase, Intel is backing a concept called YAP—an acronym for "you are the password." That means recognizing a user's voice, fingerprint or face–capabilities that Skaugen predicted would be built into new PCs next year.
Intel's 3D Camera Finally on the Drawing Board
Reportedly Intel's face-recognition capability for YAP will dovetail with the broader goal of offering new modes of commanding a PC. New camera technology that generates three-dimensional models will further both aims, Skaugen said. He showed how such cameras can help, for example, track a user's facial expressions and map them onto an animated avatar.
This particular technology is running a little late. We noted in our June 2013 report covering Computex that Intel was hoping to have their breakthrough 3D camera ready for Q4 2014. It's now being earmarked for Q4 2015. Who knows, perhaps HP will tie it back to their new Sprout PC ecosystem.
Skaugen noted back in 2013 that Lenovo and Dell would be the first OEM's to integrate into devices. During this year's Intel Keynote at CES they branded their 3D camera as "RealSense."
After years of losing business to tablets, for example, Intel reported four straight quarters of growth in sales of PC chips. In the third period, for example, shipments of chips for notebooks rose 21% as 2-in-1 notebook designs are gathering steam as Best Buy's CEO testified to earlier this summer.
Intel's Skaugen noted back in 2013 that their breakthrough 3D camera would also be integrated into Intel based tablets which could give their tablets a boost in the market. Though not all is well at Intel just yet and you could read all about that here.
Whether Apple will tap into any of these coming trends for 2015 is unknown at this time. However, we noted in a previous report that Apple gained 3D technology that could be used in future iDevices (or Macs) via their PrimeSense acquisition. The technology was noted as being earmarked for Google's Project Tango that basically relates to adding a 3D camera to future Android smartphones as noted below.
As for biometrics being targeted for future Macs, a 2014 patent filing from Apple clearly illustrates that an R&D team has already worked on that and beyond. And as we pointed out earlier in this report, Apple has also been working on Wireless technologies based on magnetic resonance that may be technically equal to those backed by the Rezence Alliance. Apple could also be working with this very same group or another, but due to Apple's legendary secrecy, it's an unknown at present.
Would you like to see these technologies come to the Mac in 2015? Send in your comments below.