Lenovo has jumped the gun on CES by releasing info on its latest ThinkPad updates a few days before the annual electronics trade show. While the PC manufacturer isn't adding anything as radical as the Yoga Book's Create Pad hybrid input device, its flagship laptops will receive some of the latest computing technology as well as some other improvements.
Select ThinkPads will be the first computers to include Intel's Optane storage technology, which is reportedly several times faster than current SSD tech. The bad news? These laptops will only have 16GB versions of the Optane drives, so they will be used in tandem with traditional hard drives. They will also appear later in 2017 than new non-Optane ThinkPads as the drives are finalized.
Lenovo is further leaning on Intel for its processors, shipping new ThinkPads with the latest Core processors. the seventh-generation "Kaby Lake" CPUs. It's also continuing the trend of PC makers jumping on the USB-C bandwagon as well as supporting Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. The brand-new ThinkPad T470 and T570 will be equipped with Windows Hello cameras that can perform facial recognition to supplement their fingerprint readers. (See a rundown of all the new models at our sister site CNET.)
The ThinkPad's touchpad gets an update via software thanks to new support for Microsoft's Precision TouchPad drivers, which should provide finer control over inputting touchpad gestures. Microsoft will also be supplying Windows 10 Signature Edition for 2017 ThinkPads; given Lenovo's recent woes with installing flawed bloatware on its systems, this "clean" version of Windows 10 should give potential buyers a little more peace of mind.
The most noticeable change to the new ThinkPads will appear on the surface. In addition to its iconic black chassis, select Lenovo business laptops will finally be available in a silver finish. A nod to younger buyers who might not like the staid black ThinkPads of yore (and their overworked parents)?