updated 11:00 am EST, Wed February 24, 2010
Hardware refresh considered overdue
Evidence backs notions of a MacBook Pro update within the next few weeks, according to Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. Distribution supplies are said to be growing short, closer to two to three weeks' worth instead of four to six. While the change could be linked to high demand, Apple is known to let production die down as it prepares to launch new hardware.
At the same time, Intel is believed to be shipping mass quantities of the chips for its next-gen mobile platform, Arrandale. The technology brings Core i3, i5 and i7 processors to notebooks, as well as hyperthreading and 32nm design, the latter of which could increase the battery life of the Pro while modestly shrinking its weight. On top of this Apple is believed to have strong incentive to update the computer, given that the entry-level Pro now has some overlap with the basic MacBook.
New models are expected to ship by the end of the March quarter, or at latest in the June quarter. Wu is calling for shipments of 2.9 million Macs in the former, which would represent a growth of 30 percent. The analyst is holding to a $253 target for Apple stock.