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Intel Abandons "i" Processor Branding After 15 Years, Unveils "Ultra" for Higher-End Chips

Intel's upcoming chips will drop "i" and will be called "Core 3/5/7/9" instead. The company will also introduce a new tier for its higher-end processors.

Intel is simplifying its processor branding, aiming to make it easier to understand. The upcoming Meteor Lake generation of processors marks the beginning of this transition, as the company shifts away from its conventional "i3/i5/i7/i9" nomenclature, which has been in use for more than a decade, to a more straightforward "Core 3/5/7/9" concept.

According to Intel, the rebranding "better aligns to customer requests." Additionally, as Intel’s director of product branding Christopher Hirsch explained to The Verge, the company aims to prevent any confusion with Apple as the letter "i" was not sufficiently clear to customers, leading some to question its association with the iPhone and iPad.

Apart from dropping the letter "i", Intel intends to differentiate its top-tier products from mainstream offerings by introducing three different tiers: Intel, Intel Core, and Intel Core Ultra. 

According to Hirsch and Intel brand strategist Tim Thraves, the Ultra products from Intel will boast "bigger feature sets" featuring integrated Arc-level graphics exclusive to these processors, setting them apart from mainstream Core offerings. These Ultra processors will also possess advanced AI capabilities similar to those found in AMD, Apple, and Qualcomm processors, ensuring "absolute best performance".

While the upcoming series of processors, starting with Meteor Lake, won't be universally labeled as the 14th generation, the processor number will continue to indicate the specific generation (Intel Core Ultra 9 processor 1090H, for example). So, enthusiasts can still learn the capabilities and generation of a chip by referring to its complete alphanumeric identifier.

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