Apple may introduce processor upgrades for its 2011 MacBook Pro line

By Josh Rosenthall:

Apple last updated its MacBook Pro line this February when it released new models featuring dual-core Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors, Thunderbolt ports, and new FaceTime HD cameras.

Now comes word from Apple Insider that Apple may very well revamp its MacBook Pro line with spec upgrades in the next few weeks to take advantage of the always profitable holiday shopping season and to remain competitive in a crowded notebook marketplace.

According to people with proven insight into Apple’s future product plans, the late-2011 MacBook Pro refresh will deliver marginal speed bumps to the notebooks’ Core i-Series of Sandy Bridge processors but will otherwise introduce no material changes over the existing models.

Just last week, Intel announced 16 new Sandy Bridge processors including 2.4GHz, 2.5GHz and 2.7GHz quad-core Core i7 processors. AI speculates that these may replace the 2.0GHz, 2.2GHz and 2.3GHz processors currently employed in the 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros.

Regarding the 13-inch MacBook Pro, base model currently sports a 2.3 Ghz dual core Intel Core i5 processor while the $ 1,499 model features a 2.7 Ghz dual-core i7 processor. The base model might be upgraded with a 2.5Ghz processor at a negligible cost, Apple Insider writes.

Although the new models may come as somewhat of a surprise for industry watchers given that there has been no indication that Apple is drawing down inventories of existing models, the refresh is likely geared towards assuring the Mac maker’s top-selling notebook family remains competitive in the market until Intel releases its next-generation Ivy Bridge platform at some point in 2012.

Ivy Bridge was originally slated to debut in late 2011, but leaked documents from Intel surfaced in May and revealed that the next-generation processors are slated to arrive at some point in the first half of 2012. The Ivy Bridge chips are now scheduled to become available at some point in March or April of next year.

So if you’re in the market for a new MacBook Pro, it’s probably wise to wait a short few weeks and see if you can get a little bit more bang for your buck.

Edible Apple

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