When Apple unveiled the iPad Air in October, critics praised the tablet for being the lightest and thinnest 10-inch slate you could buy.
More recently, Microsoft bragged that its new Surface Pro 3 tablet could pack a full-blown computing experience into an airy tablet that’s lighter than any laptop on the market.
Thanks to a new chip from Intel, however, supersleek devices could become the norm rather than the exception.
At this year’s Computex conference in Taiwan, Intel is providing a glimpse at the types of devices that will run on its new Broadwell processor.
Intel showed off a reference design for a superskinny tablet that doesn’t need a fan to keep it from overheating, which could reduce the size of laptops and tablets dramatically.
Intel promises that Broadwell chips will enable fanless devices that could function as both a “lightning-fast laptop and razor-thin tablet,” the company said on stage, according to CNET.
The reference design, referred to as Llama Mountain, measures just 0.28 inch thin, which is just slightly thinner than the 0.29-inch iPad Air.
The iPad Air also has a smaller 9.7-inch screen at that thickness, whereas Intel’s design has a 12.5-inch display, which means that it’s likely to feel even lighter since that thickness is spread across a wider surface area.
The Llama Mountain tablet also runs Windows 8.1 Pro and works with a keyboard accessory just like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, but at 1.47 pounds, it’s a tad lighter than Microsoft’s new tablet (1.76 pounds).
Broadwell is able to facilitate such slim designs thanks to the chip’s new architecture, which measures 14 nanometers as opposed to the previous generation Haswell’s 22-nanometer architecture. In other words, the new processor is really, really tiny.
Here’s how it looks compared with Intel’s last processor, Haswell.
We’re likely to see Broadwell appear in new devices throughout 2014 that could be substantially thinner than the technology we’re using today. Asus has already announced its Transformer Book T300 Chi — its new Windows tablet-laptop hybrid that runs on Broadwell.
Rumours have also suggested that Apple will soon release an even thinner version of its MacBook Air with a 12-inch display, and Intel’s Broadwell chip could help facilitate such a device if the speculation turns out to be true.