Intel is continuing to push Hyperthreading, whose performance has apparently improved since the technology was first implemented in Xeon Pentium 4 processors. In certain situations, Xeons can actually be slower with Hyperthreading enabled, but that's apparently not the case with newer revisions of the technology used in upcoming Pentium 4 processors.
I've championed speech recognition as the next killer app for a while now, and it looks like Intel agrees with me. They're apparently pouring resources into researching a new speech recognition engine that filters out background noise and understands the meaning of sentences. Good speech recognition could be a perfect match for Hyperthreading if the application and speech recognition engine loads can be effectively split or shared between virtual processors.
On the server front, Intel is looking at introducing dual-core Itanium processors by 2005 in an attempt to get into even bigger iron markets where margins are higher. IBM already has dual-core server chips; HP and Sun both have dual-core processors in the works, and some have even speculated that empty space on Opteron's memory controller hints at the potential for a dual-core version of AMD's much anticipated 64-bit offering.
Combined with Hyperthreading-capable desktop chips, dual-core server processors could make multi-threaded applications as popular as reality-based TV programs. Perhaps Hyperthreading or dual-core processors can help Ozzy Osbourne perform simple tasks around the house while he mumbles incoherently.
Finally, we have Banias, Intel's little notebook chip that could, or more appropriately, might. Anand managed to snap some pictures that confirm the chip's low 77-million transistor count, almost half of which is taken up by cache. Intel will apparently be introducing some PR ratings of its own with Banias, ratings which will take battery life into account along with performance. Unfortunately, the battery life for Banias-equipped notebooks is projected at only 4.5 hours. Displays, disks, and other notebook components still consume a lot of juice, which makes me wonder if Banias' design might make its way into Intel processors specifically targeted at high-density blade servers.
That's all we have from the IDF for now, but we'll continue to cover new details as they emerge.