Among other things, Intel hailed the architecture as the "largest generation-to-generation battery life increase in the history of Intel" and the first CPU architecture designed "from the ground up" for Ultrabooks and tablets, rather than being retrofitted for those form factors after the fact.
From: Intel at CES: More performance, less power, and x86 everywhere
Even Intel is reducing the performance of its processors to fit within the laptop power budget. Soon, performance will have to start playing a secondary role to other factors since it does't do much for the average user that influences the buying decisions of 90% of the market. Intel will have to tone down its performance rhetoric in the face of conflicting signals from PC makers.
Performance will continue to be a critical driver going forward, especially as Intel introduces new methods of interacting with the device, such as 3D gesture control, voice recognition and control and even eye-tracking. Effective real-time voice control alone consumes huge amount of processing power. Today even smartphone cameras have 13 MP. Editing that video is going to take enormous compute & graphics power.
Vendors that can't keep up with Intel in absolute performance will be left behind.