Rumored MacBooks Pros coming: What shoppers need to know

If you're in the market for a MacBook Pro you may want to hold off on the purchase until later this week

If you were planning on heading to the Apple Store this President's Day to go shopping for a new MacBook Pro, you might want to hold off on until at least Thursday. Apple is expected to announce a MacBook Pro refresh this week featuring machines that are thinner, lighter, have zippy new Intel processors and better screens, according to the latest rumors. The favored date for the new MacBook Pro line-up is Thursday, February 24, according to MacRumors.

Now that I've ruined your Apple-themed holiday plans and you've got nothing better to do, here's a rundown about the latest rumors and suspicions surrounding Apple's impending MacBook Pro refresh.

Apple Suspicions

Apple has reportedly been prepping its third-party retail partners to get ready for a product launch this week. The company has told some of its European partners to expect sealed shipments of new products this week possibly as early as Monday, according to Apple Insider.

Apple's shipment time for new MacBook Pros via its online store has also slipped from 24 hours to 3-to-5 business days, a potential sign of an impending MacBook Pro refresh. The $1000 white MacBook is still listed as shipping within 24 hours so don't expect an upgrade for that device.

Rumored Specs

Rumors about features and improvements for the new MacBooks are fairly sketchy at the moment. Most Apple watchers expect Apple to unveil new MacBook Pro devices sporting Intel's Sandy Bridge processors. The new Intel chips feature improved graphics performance and energy efficiency. Apple's MacBook Pro lineup is not expected to be impacted by the recently discovered design flaw in Intel's Sandy Bridge chips.

Apple may also unveil a redesigned unibody chassis for the MacBook Pro line, according to Taiwan-based DigiTimes. In addition, most rumors point to typical improvements such as better resolution screen, longer battery life, and a thinner and lighter laptop.

Fueling Apple Rumors

Cult of Mac has an interesting story about how Apple's exclusive agreement to use Liquidmetal may turn up in fuel cells powering Apple laptops and mobile devices.

Fuel cells used in laptops could make the devices last for 20 hours or more without recharging, Cult of Mac says.

Liquidmetal is a corrosion-resistant metal alloy produced by Liquidmetal Technologies that is twice as strong as titanium, but can be molded like plastic during the manufacturing process. Apple was recently awarded a patent for an internal component of a fuel cell made from "bulk-solidifying amorphous alloys," something that sounds a lot like Liquidmetal.

Apple in August bought up the exclusive rights to use Liquidmetal in electronic products. The alloy has been around since 2003 and used before in a variety of consumer products including SanDisk Cruzer USB thumb drives. It's not clear if the rumored Liquidmetal fuel cells would make it into Apple devices any time soon.

Predicting when Apple is going to announce new products is always a bit of a guessing game -- earlier reports said new MacBook Pros wouldn't be coming until March at the earliest. Regardless, if you're thinking about getting a new Mac computer this week, you should probably hold off until at least Friday.

Connect with Ian Paul ( @ianpaul ) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

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