Intel: What's Going On With Haswell?

| About: Intel Corporation (INTC)

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is officially releasing its new Haswell CPU chips for PCs at Computex in Taiwan on June 4-8.

As a tech watcher, I am amused by the different terms used to communicate new products to the market. There are "previews" and "announcements." Previews are generally teasers that reveal some key features and preliminary specifications; actual products are still months away. Previews are the manufacturers' version of rumors.

Then come the announcements. An announcement might include semi-firm specification, perhaps a few pre-production samples and usually a "release" date. We now know that the product is in preliminary production and internal qualification at the manufacturer.

Finally, we get a product release. This is where the product is actually available for purchase and use. Firm data sheets are available and, in the case of Intel, the new products will shortly be available in computing devices on store shelves.

Something different is happening with Haswell. By the time of the product release, Haswell will have been shipping, presumably in high volume, to PC manufacturers for two months. The expectation is the Haswell-based personal computers will be available, off the shelf, on the date of release.

It looks like Intel is taking a page from the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) playbook in the sense that cool new products will be available at the peak of consumer interest.

Another unusual thing with Haswell is the secrecy. This is perhaps another page taken from the Apple playbook. There have to be, perhaps, millions of Haswell chips in the wild installed on PCs that have been waiting for the chips. Any other time, someone, somewhere would have latched onto one of these finished products and worked up a complete set of performance and power benchmarks against everything but the kitchen sink.

This time we have silence. Nothing. Nada. Why the secrecy? We already know that the idle power will be 5% of the preceding CPUs and that the performance is only modestly improved. Is the performance (power/speed) better than expected? Is it worse than expected?

I'm guessing the performance -- both power consumption and speed -- will exceed what has been discussed so far. I further expect that there will be a material positive surprise; some function that has not been discussed to this point. That's what the point of secrecy is all about -- surprise.

I'm amazed that the silence has been maintained. Whatever is going on is working. I'm so curious, I can't stand it. So if you see a plump, bald guy standing in line with glazed eyes muttering "North Cape, North Cape," it will probably be me.

I think I'll be doing a little buy of Intel shares before Computex for a trade.

Disclosure: I am long INTC. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.