Apple is constantly raising the bar for what can be called decent industry design and its ultrathin MacBook Air notebooks is a shining example of this. Many are those who are trying to keep up and with the launch of Intel Sandy Bridge will enable more companies to launch competitive products.

Apple relies on Intel’s energy efficient CULV platform (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage), which is the base of most thin PC notebooks as well, but even if Intel hasn’t released any information on truy energy efficient Sandy Bridge processors ASUS, Acer and Lenovo are planning for a whole new generation of ultrathin notebooks where 13.3″ to 14″ screen will go after MacBook Air.

MacBook Air – 3-17mm in profile

The information published by DigiTimes tells us that the companies are looking at Apple’s purchases and manufacturing of the screens. Apple has managed to shed 3-5mm on regular LCD panels by using open-cell mounting where the panel makers only nails the cell portion of the LCD module that is then sent on to the next partner for mounting the backlighting and final mounting of the panel. A technology that minimize the space requirements and most likely will be adopted by PC makers.

The next generation ultrathin notebooks are expected to appear in Q1 2011. We would assume the first models will settle for Sandy Bridge’s built-in graphics to save space and power, but the question is how close to Apple they can get with their own designs. This has been an eternal struggle for PC makers.

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