With the unveiling of its latest high-profile, ultra-thin laptop at the International Luxury Conference in Paris on Tuesday, HP aims to take on the mantle of industry innovator from Apple and its iconic MacBook laptop range — so says the man in charge of HP's PC business.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, HP will unveil the thinnest laptop on the market, a device that the company’s PC chief, Ron Coughlin, believes will make HP a trendsetter in the PC industry. “For years, Apple has been seen as the innovator and the driver of innovation, [but now] HP is really taking over that mantle,” Coughlin said.
HP is the biggest PC maker in the United States, with a 28.1 percent market share, according to market research firm IDC, and it is the second biggest in the world behind Chinese company Lenovo. However, despite this dominant position, in the last 12 months, HP has seen shipments fall by over 10 percent as the decline in the PC market continued.
PC makers like HP have been struggling in the last five years to adapt to what Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs had called the “post-PC era” when he introduced the iPhone in 2007. This was further emphasized in 2010 with the introduction of the iPad and while tablet sales have also now slowed dramatically, manufacturers are seeking to offer customers a range of different devices to meet changing needs, including detachables, convertibles and other 2-in-1 devices.
The market has been flooded with devices similar to the Microsoft Surface, which the maker claims to be a tablet to replace your laptop. Apple last year introduced its version, the iPad Pro, and last month introduced a smaller version of the device as it seeks to capture some of this market.
The current market leader in premium Windows laptops is Dell’s XPS range, which offers performance and portability comparable to Apple’s MacBook range. By creating an ultra-thin laptop, HP is going after the premium end of the market, where devices typically cost close to $1,000.
Apple introduced the MacBook Air in 2008 and has continually redefined how slim a laptop should be in the years since, culminating in the 2015 launch of its latest laptop — simply called MacBook — which is 13.1mm at its thickest and 3.5mm at its slimmest.
HP has already shown this year that it can produce really thin laptops, unveiling the Elitebook Folio at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, a business-focused laptop that was just 12.7mm thick.