Intel is reportedly shipping its next-gen Haswell chips out to PC manufacturers now. The Haswell chip will be powering ultrabooks as well as hybrid laptops that are part laptop part tablet. Ultrabooks running the Haswell chip will see a major boost over ultrabooks utilizing Intel's current Ivy-Bridge offering. The Haswell chip is expected to roll out around June, around the same time Windows Blue is expected to show its face.
While it hasn't been officially confirmed that Intel's Haswell chips are being shipped, many sources have come to CNET to confirm the news. They said that Intel should be releasing an official statement confirming the shipments at the IDF Beijing conference this week. The chips will provide major improvements to a critical aspect of laptops; battery life. Laptops with the chip are expected to last 24-hours with a single charge.
There will be some complications coming with the first batch of Intel's Haswell chips. Intel has confirmed that the intial batch of Haswell chips have a bug that can affect USB 3.0 ports. Intel says that your files will be safe from data loss or corruption, but after waking up your computer from standby mode, you may need to re-plug your USB device into the socket. So far the issue seems isolated to a small amount of "USB SuperSpeed thumb drives".
Along with the shipments of Haswell Chips, Intel will also be releasing its "Merrifeld" Atom chips for smartphones, as well as its "Bay Trail" Atom chips for tablets by the end of this year. The Haswell chips will fully utilize Windows Blue when it comes out, maximizing both performance and battery life in Windows Blue systems. Intel anticipates that the combination of both the chip and Windows Blue will revamp the laptop/ultrabook world.