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Saturday, October 04, 2008, 11:40 am PT (02:40 pm ET)

NVIDIA allegedly showing new MacBooks to staff

A new rumor claims that Apple's long-rumored new MacBooks are making the rounds among NVIDIA's workers as evidence of its hardware prowess, and adds that the public itself might not have to wait much longer for its own turn.

Earlier this year, AppleInsider heard from sources that claimed at least some of Apple's next Mac refreshes would feature non-reference internals which, except for the main processor, would shed much of Intel's factory-standard platform for a more unique foundation supplied by either Apple or an outside party.

A technology journalist, later cited by AppleInsider, suggested that any possible switch on Apple's part would likely be to a new NVIDIA chipset for Intel-based notebooks that would give Apple all the features of Intel's mainboards but much faster video acceleration and more advanced power management.

This weekend, TUAW is reviving the rumor and speculation by citing "various sources" who say that NVIDIA is not only involved in the making of new MacBooks but is actively showcasing models to its staff as an example of the company's technical achievements held inside.

The site also lends minor support to rumors of an expected release date by suggesting that the new portables could be released "as soon as" October 14th. Those who first broke word of a more specialized platform to AppleInsider in late July estimated that it would take at least six to eight more weeks from that time to the eventual release of the updated MacBooks, leading to an October introduction. Daring Fireball's John Gruber has also echoed these assertions by claiming to have sources who also point to October 14th as a prime candidate for the long-awaited introductions.

As is often the case in such circumstances, however, TUAW immediately hedges its bets by warning that it's entirely possible its sources are flawed and that Apple may release either a different update or else miss the 14th altogether.

No matter the end result, the anticipation is still high based on Apple's unusually drawn out update cycle. Where the company has made fairly regular updates to the MacBook range since a platform-wide switch to Intel in 2006, 2008 has seen Apple go eight months without revising its standard MacBooks and nine for the MacBook Air.