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Monday, May 08, 2006, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Apple MacBook, iPod changes due later this month

Apple Computer's highly anticipated line of Intel-based MacBook consumer notebooks may not turn up on Tuesday as several online reports and analysts have suggested, AppleInsider has learned.

Although Apple reportedly began manufacturing the notebooks over a week ago, sources say the Mac maker is unlikely to unveil the computers until the following week at the earliest.

The 13-inch widescreen notebooks will reportedly arrive in tandem with changes to the company's iPod line. However, precisely which versions of Apple's iPod will see such changes is unclear at this time.

Supply and demand data recently seen by AppleInsider suggests that all of the company's iPod models have either reached, or will soon reach, an overall supply and demand balance.

Based on data from the company's US-based distribution partners, demand for iPods has softened considerably over the last few weeks, with the exception of a small uptick in demand for the 30GB fifth-generation iPod and the iPod shuffle.

However, evidence that suggests an increase in iPod shuffle demand could be a result of some channel refill, as noted by Wedbush Morgan Securities analysts last week.

While some reports have suggested that Apple's MacBook was due to arrive at times much earlier in the year, those reports are incorrect, sources have told AppleInsider. At no time did Apple ever anticipate launching an Intel version of its consumer notebook line before the month of April, those sources have said.

On Monday, the first of the company's 17-inch MacBook Pro professional notebooks began arriving US customer's hands. The notebooks went into production last week, shipping out of Shanghai, China this past friday.