This year’s laptops are going to look a lot like last year’s — that’s a good thing

CES offers an early look at where laptops are going in the year ahead, from flashier designs to more impressive specs. This year, the changes are a lot more subtle than usual, and that’s actually a good thing.

There are a few practical reasons for the subtle changes. First, Intel’s delayed 10nm chips and AMD’s slow recovery means that there’s less room for bigger improvements. Meaningfully faster, more efficient laptop processors simply don’t exist for manufacturers to use. There’s also that fact that laptops are approaching the limits of how thin we can reasonably make them. And then there’s the lack of pressure from Apple. Its MacBooks used to set a high bar for Windows competition, but they have recently taken a back seat to the…

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