In August 2021, Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay announced a redesign of the alarm clock app for Windows 11, and the “Ultra” trend in the smartphone industry appears to have influenced Intel as well. Intel, which has previously retired brands like Pentium and Celeron, is now set to modify the naming of its Core products. The company will abandon the current i3/i5/i7/i9 convention and instead adopt the Core Ultra + number naming scheme, such as the Intel Core Ultra 5 1003H processor.
The news was initially leaked by a Twitter user, and Intel’s Global Director of Brand Communications later responded, confirming the update in branding in preparation for the upcoming Meteor Lake processors. Meteor Lake is the codename for Intel’s 14th generation processors.
The brand name change is expected to take place in the second half of this year, with more specific information to be provided by Intel.
Switching to “Ultra” may be a good idea from a marketing perspective, as consumers associate the term with high-performance products, not only in the smartphone industry but also with Apple’s M-series processors, such as the M1 Ultra and M2 Ultra.
Intel’s move may be more about following Apple than learning from the smartphone industry’s naming conventions. However, replacing i3/i5/i7/i9 might not be the best idea, as non-English speakers may have a harder time distinguishing between them if they all have “Ultra” in their names.
From this perspective, the brand name change may seem somewhat misleading, but at least the numbers are still there, allowing users to differentiate between models. Nonetheless, using “Ultra” for low-end, mid-range, and high-end models doesn’t seem like a wise decision.
It remains to be seen whether Intel will introduce names like Intel Core Ultra X Pro Max in the future.
Additional information: Intel Core Ultra 5 1003H
This leaked processor, the 1003H, is a 14th generation Meteor Lake processor with 18 cores and 18 threads. Leaked Ashes of the Singularity (AoTS) test information indicates that Intel has indeed changed the naming, with an official announcement expected at the new product launch.