MacBook Pro design overhaul tipped for next refresh

Apple's gradual refinement of its MacBook Pro design has left the unibody aluminum notebooks little changed externally since late 2008, but according to fresh rumors there's a big shake-up coming. MacRumors' sources apparently confirm that a new case design will debut at the next MacBook Pro revision, though the exact changes in aesthetic are still mysterious.

Apple refreshed its flagship notebooks earlier this year, but with the exception of adding a Thunderbolt port the outward design remained the same. Instead, Intel's 2011-series Sandy Bridge processors were slotted inside, making the new models the fastest yet. Some have suggested the next-gen machines will look more similar to the MacBook Air, a shift that could see them less amenable to user-upgrading.

Alternatively, we could see further refinements in screen technology, such as the use of LG Display's "Shuriken" LCD panels which are thinner and have narrower bezels and thus allow for larger screens in smaller notebooks. Acer is already believed to be working on a Shuriken-based notebook for release in May.

Yesterday, leaks claimed Apple was readying an iMac refresh for the first week in May, complete with Thunderbolt connectivity and Sandy Bridge processors.