June 26, 2022

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We are still waiting for the big year for the laptop

We are still waiting for the big year for the laptop

After a long, long month of laptop releases, Computex 2022 is finally over. In some ways, Computex was not.

The first part of this year was an exciting time to be a laptop reporter. Every company and its mom announced big ideas were on the way. wacky products abounded, of screens to me phones. LG monitor (which supplied the 13.3-inch screen for Lenovo ThinkPad X1 FoldShow a 17 inch foldable OLED screen Monitor. We’ve seen RGB and OLEDs and an abundance of touches. Chip makers promised architectural innovations and performance gains. We were told these were all coming soon.

At the end of May was Computex, the biggest laptop show of the year. (Okay, it’s been all of May really – since many global attendees couldn’t make it to Taiwan, most companies did their own thing and ditched their releases at any point in time, but that’s another story. I’m still recovering from this month of incessant advertisements Please don’t text me.) This would have been the perfect time to release some of these innovative releases, you know. Or get the release date.

But we didn’t get them at Computex 2022. The show was, in fact, not very exciting. We’ve got a lot of chip pitfalls. We got some higher refresh rate screens. we got HP Specter x360 طابعة Printer with rounded corners. (To be clear, I am personally very excited about the rounded corners, but I may be the only person on the planet in this boat.)

Don’t get me wrong: the incremental upgrades, for interior specs and exterior items, are important. They will make a difference in people’s lives. Companies don’t need to reinvent the wheel with every laptop they release. But it’s still worth noting that a number of devices that seem really poised to expand or redefine their categories aren’t there yet (or if they are, I can’t find them for sale).

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Here’s the Elite Dragonfly G3, which you can’t buy yet.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales/The Verge

Here are some of the highly anticipated products announced earlier this year that haven’t made it to my desk yet:

Not all news is bad. Some of the most anticipated hardware of 2022 was released on schedule, including a number of gaming-side products like ROG Flow Z13 from Asus. And of course companies veer off plans all the time. But I’ve checked my impression with Stephen Kleinhans, vice president of Gartner Research, and it seems to be true: Across the board, we’re seeing delays in PC shipments, which in turn affect releases. It’s not a unique problem in the PC space, of course — industries across the board, including the automotive field, are off.

Lenovo ThinkBook plus Gen 3 keyboard seen from above.  The main screen displays a blue swirl on a white background.

Photography by Monica Chen/The Verge

Kleynhans believes that these delays are, unsurprisingly, “mostly supply chain issues,” much of it related to the current COVID situation in China, which has led to Closures in major technical centers. Kleynhans told me that “until China really opens up again, which seems to be what we’re seeing now, and can catch up with the backlog that’s been created, we’ll continue to see the turmoil in addition to the turmoil that they’ve already been there.” He believes PC availability could be disrupted “at least as summer approaches and the end of the year approaches”.

Not only are companies having trouble getting current-generation units into their own hands, Kleynhans says – it’s also about fulfilling last-generation orders. “If you have a customer who placed an order for 1,000 machines three or four months ago, and they haven’t received it yet, you don’t want to release a model this year while those orders are pending,” Kleynhans told me. We’re definitely seeing delays on current models, too — many of Apple’s latest MacBook Pros are showing shipping dates in late July or later. (Camel Highly rumored A new MacBook Air is in the pipeline, and it will be interesting to see if the company is able to stick to its usual near-term availability schedule.)

When it comes to supply chain delays, the PC market is hardly the hardest hit (or most important). The world would continue to transform if 17-inch foldable computers took longer than expected to ship. And laptop delays aren’t the most significant or impactful consequence of this pandemic.

However, this situation should serve as a reminder of a fact that, frankly, is always worth remembering: the PC space has many moving parts. Several things had to be done right to present the laptop you’re writing on now, the laptop I’m writing on now (it’s XVIRUS G 14, if you’re curious) to our doorsteps. It’s fun living in a world full of touch-ups, foldable gadgets, and twice the performance gains in the early part of the year. But the real world is more complex and boring, and even the coolest innovations require the compatibility of all kinds of logistics stars.