O'Donnell noted that users are holding onto their systems longer than in the past, but that with a solid operating system available, capabilities offered that can only be leveraged through new PCs running Windows 10 on the Skylake chips, and the growing range of form factors to choose from—including two-in-ones, convertible PCs, mini-PCs, all-in-ones and traditional notebooks and desktops—people have a greater range of interesting options.
In addition, new systems are lighter, smaller, thinner and faster than the 3- to 5-year-old PCs many are using now. According to Intel officials, PCs with the new 6th generation chips offer up to 2.5 times the performance, triple the battery life and 30 times better graphics performance than PCs that are 5 years old. In addition, those form factors can be half as thin and half the weight, wake up faster and have all-day battery life.
The breadth of what PC makers can now offer will help, according to Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT. Intel rolled out about four dozen new chips, with power consumption ranging from 4.5 watts to more than 65 watts, King wrote in a research note.
"That means consumers will find Intel's newest Core chips supporting solutions ranging from stick PCs to mini PCs to tablets to convertibles to laptops to desktop PCs to AIOs," he wrote. "Plus, the Core architecture is being leveraged to power the first ever Xeon E3-based mobile workstations. … The sheer breadth and depth of the 6th gen Core solutions reflects the essential changes that have occurred and are still underway in personal computing. Intel understands that point, in spades, and the wide variety of Core processor offerings suggests that wherever users are and whatever they are doing, a 6th gen Core solution will be ready and available."
The combination of the Intel chips and Windows 10 also brings some stability to the PC's future, which gives both consumers and business users something they can plan on over the next five or more years, according to Technalysis' O'Donnell.
Whether it will mean any sort of bump in the short term—during the holiday buying season—is "a bit of a long shot. It's a little bit of a reach," he said. That said, O'Donnell said there are reasons why it could happen. There isn't a lot of competition—tablet sales are faltering, though there is interest in smartphones, and it's still a nascent market for wearables. Also, two-in-ones will look more attractive, especially since Windows 10 makes it easier to move between PC mode and tablet mode.
However, even if there isn't tremendous traction over the next few months, there should be longer-term, he said. Seeing Intel and Microsoft coming together again was an important step.
"You needed the two core companies working together like they used to," O'Donnell said, reiterating the fact that people still use PCs. "Put those two things together and you have a good thing."