Some new Lenovo ThinkPad model numbers recently showed up on the PTCRB website, for those unfamiliar with the PTCRB (which is most people) the organization is in the business of certifying GSM / UMTS equipped wireless devices. You can read more about the group on Wikipedia. That aside, here’s what the PTCRB has revealed on their site as being certified after testing:
The ThinkPad T430 will of course be the follow-up to the current T420 (see our review of the ThinkPad T420), the T430i is simply going to be a budget configuration of the T430 line, likely coming equipped with an Intel Core i3 processor. It will have the new Intel Ivy Bridge processor, but outside of that we can’t tell much as the PTCRB does not reveal any specs. Lenovo did pre-announce the ThinkPad T430u Ultrabook at CES 2012, so the naming convention of their ThinkPad refresh wasn’t much of a mystery. Interestingly, there is no T430s listed to follow-up on the ThinkPad T420s, so we assume the T430u will be the pseudo successor to the T420s. Below is a picture of the T430u Ultrabook, not slated to be released until Fall 2012.
The highly popular 12.5” screen X220 will be replaced by the Intel Ivy Bridge equipped ThinkPad X230. Again, no specific details are known outside of the obvious processor update. It’s likely the X230 will offer a USB 3.0 port, something missing on the X220, whether the popular HDMI port or backlit keyboard will make an appearance on the X230 remains to be seen. Being an Enterprise targeted laptop, don’t expect too much change, business IT departments hate change after all and they’re the guys shelling out the most money. We just hope Lenovo keeps the option for an IPS screen available for the X230.
Finally, the 15” family of ThinkPad T530 and W530 laptops will of course have Intel Ivy Bridge and some sort of dedicated graphics card, likely from Nvidia as the current ThinkPads do.
The rumored release date for Intel Ivy Bridge equipped laptops is April 29th. However, business targeted PC’s tend not to be first out of the gate with new technology and it may take until early Summer 2012 for the new ThinkPad series to start shipping. Bottom line, based on the certification clearance with the PTCRB and Intel Ivy Bridge availability in April we expect a release date of the T430, T530, W530 and X230 around June 2012 and an announcement of the specs at the end of April.
It appears some images of the upcoming ThinkPad L530, ThinkPad T530, ThinkPad X230 and W530 (thanks Alex) have started showing up on the Lenovo.com website, using the following image URLs you can access images of the upcoming products:
The images are also embedded below as they appear on the Lenovo website:
You can see that the keyboard on the L530, X230 and W530 are a chiclet style design, the same as that seen on the ThinkPad T430u. It’s hard to tell based on the back shot of the T530 whether or not it is also using a chiclet keyboard, but since the blue colored Enter key is gone, a change from previous years, we can assume the T530 has the new chiclet keyboard design as well. This will obviously disappoint some loyal ThinkPad users who consider the keyboard design nearly sacred, but we’ll have to reserve judgment until actually using one of these keyboards to determine if the usability has really changed.