UltraBooks: Not Just Copies of MacBook Air

UltraBooks, the super thin laptops often featuring a silver wedge shaped/tapered design, have often come under attack as being copy cat of the very popular Apple MacBook Air for its many similarities. However, contrary to its many similarities in design, UltraBooks actually have their own brand of performance, looks, and features.

While the razor thin design, silver body, black chiclet keyboard, and tapered wedge shape of UltraBooks can be compared to Apple’s ultraportable, HP design executive Stacy Wolff tells Engadget in an interview its just how technology has developed and has nothing to do with mimicking Apple’s design:

I would go back to the TC1000 [Tablet PC] from about 10 years, and that’s a tablet. I think if you look at the new Spectre XT, there are similarities in a way, not due to Apple but due to the way technologies developed. Apple may like to think that they own silver, but they don’t. In no way did HP try to mimic Apple. In life there are a lot of similarities.”

He continues to state:

“We’re a Windows ecosystem and we’re building a product that is basically genuine to HP. I think that the struggle is as we, again, drive to that simplicity, the shape just becomes one. I don’t think a lot of other companies are purposely designing to be copycats. I think a few might be.”

PC World compares the differences in not only design, but also function of the many different designs of UltraBooks versus Apple’s MacBook Air including Sony’s Vaio x505, coming out five years prior to Apple’s introduction of the MacBook Air. The Vaio X505 weighed 1.8 pounds, tapered down to 0.4 inches at the front and had the sleek metallic body of today’s Ultrabooks.

Some makers have added their own improvements to the design. While Apple uses an aluminum body with no pattern, HP went a step further and made their Envy Spectre XT with a magnesium body and a brushed design.


The LG P430 has a brushed aluminum shell and black chiclet keyboard, but LG uses a thin bezel to cram a 14-inch (on the diagonal) display into the P430’s 13.3-inch footprint.

The list goes on and on with various subtle differences in the overall outward design and appearance.

Inside is another story. Besides running Windows, using Intel processors, and meeting the thinness requirement, laptop makers are free to adapt Intel’s specifications for UltraBooks as they see fit.

UltraBooks tend to offer more ports that are standard than the MacBook Air does. The Portege Z835 also adds VGA. You’d need to buy adapters if you want ethernet,VGA, or HDMI capability on the MacBook Air.