New MacBooks and MacBook Pros Just Around the Corner?

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If you’ve been sitting there twiddling your thumbs while Apple announced the iPad, then just recently began talking about iPhone OS 4.0, then news of what’s going on with the Mac line (yes, Apple still makes computers) will probably come as a welcome surprise. A Taiwanese newspaper has a new report (Google translation) up that details some imminent changes bound for the MacBook line of notebooks.

If the reports are reliable, then it would mean that the MacBook lineup will be using Intel’s line of i3, i5 and i7 chips, as some earlier rumors speculated. The reason we haven’t seen them yet, according to the Taiwanese publication Apple Daily, is that supply has been short thanks to a large order including all three of the models from computer maker Acer.

The report claims that all of Apple’s MacBook computers, from the MacBook itself through the Pro line and to the Air, could see updates in April, with the Intel processor change the most significant alteration. That’s not all, though. New MacBook Pro systems will reportedly have 640GB drives installed by default, with the option to upgrade to a 248GB solid-state drive. If pricing remains reasonable, it could mark the first time SSDs represent a viable alternative to standard HDDs for the average consumer.

All-day computing is another detail the report claims for the upcoming computers, with a reported eight hours of battery life. Better power management might be due only to the increased energy efficiency offered by the i3, i5 and i7 chips, rather than through any major advancements in battery technology by Apple.

Apple’s MacBook line is definitely in need of an update. The last time any of the computers was updated was in October 2009, and that was a fairly minor update to the base model MacBook. MacBook Pros haven’t seen any changes since June of last year, when I purchased mine. The MacBook Air was updated at the same time.

Since then, the iPad has essentially hogged the entire Apple product spotlight. Rumors of its impending arrival fomented for months and months, and its official announcement and release schedule has all but occluded Apple’s other offerings. I’m glad Apple’s doing well in the mobile market, since it means my iPhone’s software will not fall into neglect anytime soon, but I fear there’s too much at risk if Cupertino continues to stake its future on mobile tunnel vision.

Some of us were Mac users before the iPod, and will continue to be even if Google wins the battle for mobile market supremacy. Let’s hope Apple remembers that and rewards us with its next salvo of MacBook updates.

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