updated 09:25 pm EST, Fri February 18, 2011
MacBook Pro tipped for February 24
(Update: prices) Sources drove rumors of new MacBook Pros again on Friday with leaks narrowing them down to next week. Bumping them up from the early March target, AppleInsider's contacts were told that multiple Apple divisions were being asked to ready for a "significant product launch." The MacBook Pro isn't certain but is so far the only device to show any significant signs of being ready for an imminent update.
The launch may not necessarily fit into Apple's usual Tuesday pattern. A second mention from other sources had the systems arriving on Thursday, February 24. Details weren't given to MacRumors, but President's Day on Monday may be a factor since staff may not necessarily be ready to coordinate the release without at least a day to prepare.
Any new computers are expected to use Core processors based on Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture, which improves the performance per clock and adds extensions for certain media and vector math calculations. On the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple may go back to Intel graphics for the first time since 2008 but might not see a performance drop through major improvements made to Intel's hardware.
Other changes may bring AMD Radeon HD 6000M video on the 15- and 17-inch models as well as lessons learned from the MacBook Air, such as more and faster SSD options, hybrid SSD/rotating hard drives and longer battery life in sleep mode. Apple could now also take advantage of less expensive RAM and to upgrade to 750GB or 1TB hard disks.
Update: Extra details now show the prices. Apple may be dropping one of its 15-inch configurations and will now have either $1,799 or $2,199 trim levels, 9to5 saw. The 13-inch models will still come in $1,199 and $1,499 configurations, and the 17-inch version is still coming in a solitary $2,499 edition.