First the caveat: Dell isn't Apple. Its PCs aren't a work of art. But there is improvement that could result in market share momentum.
- A small LCD screen on the top of the XPS that shows Microsoft's SideShow and other third party gadgets. Think a stock ticker or RSS feed on top of your PC.
- The XPS 420 also has top panels that mesh well with home theatre systems. And there's also storage for cables and places to dock your various gadgets.
- On the software side of the equation, the XPS comes bundled with Adobe Elements Studio for better video and photo editing.
The XPS 420, which is evidence that the XPS line is moving away from being a gaming brand to a premium PC brand, is just the latest data point that Dell gets this design thing--at least a little (it even announced a new LCD with built-in Web cam).
But when you couple the XPS 420 with its colorful laptops (we'll overlook the previous shipment issues for now) you get some early data points that Dell can be a contender. Is Dell going to suddenly transform into Apple? No. But it has more of a design clue than the company did a year ago. For now, that counts as progress.