It looks like Intel could be ditching its iconic ‘i’ branding for CPU names in the not-too-distant future. That means no more i5, i7, and so on. Why? That’s for Intel to know, and us to wonder.
The news comes from Intel’s director of global communications, Bernard Fernandes, who confirmed in a tweet that Intel has plans for ‘brand changes’ as the company is at what he calls an ‘inflection point’ in its roadmap for future CPU generations.
Yes, we are making brand changes as we’re at an inflection point in our client roadmap in preparation for the upcoming launch of our #MeteorLake processors. We will provide more details regarding these exciting changes in the coming weeks! #IntelMay 1, 2023
It shouldn’t be shocking for anyone with their fingers on the pulse; Intel has plans to release a whole new CPU architecture (hopefully this year) under the ‘Meteor Lake’ codename, and a recent benchmark result found in the test results database of strategy game Ashes of the Singularity revealed a mysterious processor named the Intel Core Ultra 5 1003H.
So, Intel could be dropping the ‘i’ – and replacing it with Ultra. Of course, this could merely be a codename, or we might see Ultra and non-Ultra versions of Meteor Lake processors. Notably, we might get at least one more ‘i’ generation before this big rebrand hits, with some leaks indicating that Intel’s 14th-gen Core CPUs won’t exclusively use the new architecture.
I have to ask, Intel: why this? Why now? Sure, Meteor Lake does represent a fresh start for its processor products, but the ‘Core’ branding is evidently sticking around, so why lose the ‘i’? Judging by the leaked CPU name, Intel doesn’t plan to drop the 3/5/7/9 ‘tier’ numerals for its chips either.
If this leak is accurate – and it could well amount to nothing, with the rebrand giving us something entirely different – I really have to question the logic behind it. ‘Ultra’ isn’t exactly an original name, after all.
Phone manufacturers love to shove the word into product names to indicate that you’re getting a ‘souped-up’ version of the phone. ‘Ultra HD’ is common parlance for 4K resolution when it comes to displays. And, perhaps most critically, Apple – which is now a key competitor for Intel in the processor space – is using the moniker in its own high-end SoCs like the M1 Ultra.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s second only to slapping ‘Pro’ on the end of a product name in the ‘garbage tech naming conventions’ race. Even setting aside my dislike of the term, big rebrands often pose the risk of simply being confusing for consumers.
Intel’s ‘i’ branding has been around for a long time now – more than two decades, in fact. It’s become synonymous with Intel’s name: the company doesn’t even capitalize the first letter of its name in logos and branding material. To ditch it would be a major move, and consumers with only a limited degree of familiarity with Intel products (say, knowing that an i9 is better than an i5) could end up unsure of where they stand.
Hey, this could be no big deal. Maybe Intel wants to shake up its numbering conventions instead (which would also suck). Maybe even ‘Core’ is going away. ‘Intel Inside’ was a masterstroke of brand campaigning, but it didn’t last forever. All things change, and perhaps it’s time for something new. All those ‘i’s will be lost in time, like tears in rain…