Intel has indicated to its partners that it will be postponing mass shipments of Ivy Bridge processors, with large shipments not expected to occur until at least July. However, Intel still plans to unveil and announce the Ivy Bridge processor family in April 2012 and start to ship a small volume of the processors sometime in early April. Initial shipments will include the high-end Core i7 Ivy Bridge processors for gaming laptops. Business laptops and mainstream consumer laptops that rely more on the Core i5 processors probably won’t get updated until summer based on this news.
The reason behind the delay is due to weak laptop demand so far this year and a surplus inventory of current Sandy Bridge generation processors. As a result of the existing oversupply, sources have indicated that Intel was forced to delay mass shipments of Ivy Bridge processors in order to minimize the impact. The oversupply of processors is in direct contrast to the tight supply on hard drives due to last years floods in Thailand. Because of the low supply and high prices of hard drives manufacturers have not been able to drop laptop prices to try and sell through the glut of processors.
Notebook manufacturers have already started to adjust their Ivy Bridge projects in light of this news. Despite this, however, they are still not overly concerned, as they view the Windows 8 launch as a more critical element to this year believing that its launch will drive people to replace their current laptops. Until the release of Microsoft’s next iteration of Windows (which is slated for a late summer/early fall release), it will be a slow year in sales for laptop replacements.