Apple planning major product launch next week

A refreshed lineup of Macbook Pros may debut next week, according to reports.

A refreshed lineup of MacBook Pro laptops may debut next week, according to a Friday report by AppleInsider. Citing the ever-chatty "people familiar with the matter," the Apple-oriented blog says that Cupertino is mulling whether to launch the updated notebooks before the end of February. If so, Apple is running out of time to issue party invites.

Rumors of revamped MacBook Pros have swirled for weeks, with some bloggers predicting an early-March ship date for Apple's latest laptops. Given that that last MacBook upgrade was nearly a year ago in April 2010 (aside from a firmware update in November), the series is certainly ripe for a refresh.

Other signs signify a change is due. Supplies of 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros are reportedly running low at Apple Stores and third-party retailers in Japan and the U.S. While the new laptops will feature Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors, they won't include the chipset's widely-reported design flaw, which could hamper performance of storage devices. (Intel has since repaired the chip glitch.)

Naturally, the new MacBook Pros' specs remain a mystery. That's no reason not to speculate, however. Italian tech blog iSpazio says we can expect five new models with screens of 13, 15, and 17 inches. Other Apple-watchers believe the new Macs may sport solid-state drives rather than conventional hard disks.

This is all great, but where's the iPad 2?

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