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Talking out of my ass on the Apple laptop update next week

Apple’s updating their laptops next week, probably to look something like this. Here are some random thoughts based on nothing but speculation:

Redesigned MacBooks and MacBook Pros
Likelihood: 100%
That’s what the event is for. Both lines will stay in the same market segments and size classes, possibly losing up to 0.5 lbs. of weight and slightly reducing the thicknesses, but no major departures (e.g. the 15” MBP will be 5.0-5.5 lbs. and the 13” MB will be 4.5-5.0 lbs.). I’m hoping to see a 1680x1050 screen on the 15”, maybe as an optional upgrade.

The cases are all aluminum, including the MacBook
Likelihood: 90%
See the bottom tri-picture here. The middle panel. That’s almost identical to the MacBook Air’s topcase. The only slight differences I can see are the placement of the power button and the width of the hinge cutout. So that might be for a revised MacBook Air, but it’s more likely that they’re consolidating the parts and using the same topcase for both the 13” MacBook and any future MacBook Airs. If so, this is likely to mean that the MacBook will sport the Air’s slightly louder speaker. This is very good news to anyone who has ever tried to watch a movie on a MacBook. Also, it looks like they’ve moved all of the ports to the left side for the 15” MBP (like the MacBook), which is great for anyone who regularly hooks up their MBPs to external peripherals. Unfortunately, it looks like they still only have 2 USB ports on the 13” and 15”.

MacBook price drop: $800-900 for base model
Likelihood: 50%
Currently, they start at $1100. There’s certainly room for a price cut in this line — Intel’s laptop chipsets are very integrated and very cheap.

MacBook Air update (not a redesign)
Likelihood: 60%
The other laptops are being made to look more like the Air, and it’s still fairly new, so I don’t expect a redesign. However, we’ll probably see minor spec bumps. I expect a slight CPU-speed upgrade (1.8 and 2.13 GHz?), a 120 GB base hard drive, and (wishful thinking) maybe the high-end SSD model will get 4 GB of RAM. No significant changes (no CD drive, no discrete graphics, no WWAN, same size and weight, SSD only in the high-end model, etc.).

MacBook Air price drop
Likelihood: 30%
Currently, it’s $1800 and $2600. Nobody has mentioned this in any rumors, but I think it may drop slightly, especially the high-end model. I’d guess $1600 and $2200.