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Sometimes-accurate Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes claimed on Thursday that sources from notebook players had revealed Intel's change in plans. The launch comes as Asustek, Acer, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard are expected to release Ivy Bridge-powered ultrabooks next month.
Multiple sources have pointed to late April for the Ivy Bridge launch. One report claimed late last month that Intel would announce the new processors between April 22 and April 28 and begin selling them on April 29.
Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pros will likely be the first Macs to feature the new Intel chips. Sources out of the Far East said last month that the updated laptops could arrive by the end of April. AppleInsider reported on Tuesday that several resellers are listing current-generation 15-inch MacBook Pros as "out of stock," often a reliable sign that a refresh is imminent.
Reliable sources told AppleInsider in February that Apple is planning a major revamp of its notebook offerings that will bring 15-inch MacBook Pros closer in line with the design of the company's 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs. Slimmer 17-inch models are also expected to arrive later this year.
An illustration of Apple's notebook lineup planned for the 2012 calendar year.
Following the release of its new laptops, the Cupertino, Calif., company is expected to release updated Ivy Bridge iMacs as early as June or July.
Other hints that Intel is nearly ready to release its Ivy Bridge architecture also came on Thursday when reports surfaced that Intel is shipping its second-generation Thunderbolt controllers for use with Ivy Bridge chips.
Thursday's report also quoted Intel vice president Kirk Skaugen as saying that ultrabook prices will fall from $999 to $699 in the new few months as volume shipments drive costs down. PC makers have been hard at work at reducing the average price of ultrabook laptops in order to better compete against Apple's MacBook Air.
Intel declared earlier this month that ultrabooks trump the MacBook Air in functionality and value.