MacRumors points to evidence from resellers that their stocks of 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros are running low. Amazon reports a 1 to 2 month delay on 17-inch MacBook Pros while Apple retains a shipping status of “within 24 hours.”
Low product supplies have been the biggest indicators from retail channels that a new model will be announced from Apple. While the smaller 13-inch MacBook Pro hasn’t experienced the same supply shortages, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple updated the entire family to Intel’s Sandy Bridge Architecture.
The upside to having Intel’s integrated graphics on the same CPU die is that Apple can finally bring graphics switching to the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The current iteration uses an aging Core 2 Duo processor coupled with an Nvidia GeForce 320M GPU with no room in the case for another chip. An updated model could use a newer ATI or Nivida GPU with either an Intel Core i3 or i5 CPU.
We’ve reported about what the next generation family of MacBook Pros could look like. Apple will most likely outfit each model with an Intel Sandy Bridge CPU which would require a drastic change in the underlying design. The switch would bring Intel’s integrated graphics to the same CPU die. While efficient and power saving, Apple will need to supplement the lack of graphics horsepower with either an Nvida or ATI processor.
Apple also made hints recently at where the MacBook Pro line could go. During Apple’s most recent earnings call, Tim Cook said “The MacBook of the future, shipping today.” It could mean a multitude of things but for one I see solid state storage becoming the norm along with the death of the optical drive.