Expect the first of Intel's Ivy Bridge chip announcements on 23 April, when the chipmaker unveils its high-performance models, sources have told CNET.
Intel showed off an "internal concept" hybrid laptop/tablet based on its Ivy Bridge processor and Windows 8 at a conference in Beijing last week. That chip will support Retina-class display resolutions, according to PC business chief Kirk Skaugen.
The first Ivy Bridge processors will be quad-core mobile and desktop, an industry source, who is familiar with the roll-out, told CNET. More power-efficient, ultrabook-specific dual-core chips will come later in the quarter.
Ivy Bridge is the first in a series of upcoming Intel mainstream chips that emphasise graphics and multimedia processing over more traditional compute tasks. Most importantly for consumers, Ivy Bridge chips will power the wave of Windows 8 ultrabooks that will break later in the year. Those systems are expected to have touchscreens, and will include hybrid designs that straddle the laptop and tablet markets.
Apple is expected to tap Ivy Bridge for a thinner 15-inch MacBook Pro-class system, as well as future MacBook Airs. Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sony, Toshiba, Acer and Asus will update and/or bring out new systems. These will run the gamut of laptop designs, but more systems are expected to be thin. Even many higher-performance systems are expected to have a slimmer chassis. Those laptops typically use a separate graphics chip from suppliers such as Nvidia.