Analyst thinks Apple may soon update MacBook Pro laptop, says supply tighter than normal

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Analyst thinks Apple may update MacBook Pro laptop

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple Inc. may soon update its MacBook Pro laptops since checks show supplies of the computer are more limited than usual, an analyst said Wednesday.

In a client note, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said that tight supply could be a result of strong demand for the laptop, an upcoming update or both.

He expects an updated version of the laptop would include a new processor from Intel Corp. that would improve performance and battery life. Wu thinks Apple could start shipping a new MacBook Pro during its fiscal second or third quarters, which end in March and June, respectively.

“On the surface, the Mac business doesn’t really need a refresh due to its strong momentum, but we believe a refresh of the MacBook Pro makes sense to keep the product fresh,” he said.

Wu noted that Apple last updated the MacBook Pro in June 2009, and said that the cheapest version of the laptop at $1,199 has a lot in common with Apple’s $999 MacBook laptop. Apple updated the cheaper MacBook in October, releasing a faster version that includes a “multitouch” track pad.

“We believe further differentiation beyond the aluminum casing, SD slot and FireWire can help the MacBook Pro preserve its premium pricing,” he added.

Wu rates Apple shares “Buy” with a $253 price target.

Apple shares rose $3.11 to $200.17 in afternoon trading.

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