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Is Apple preparing to release new MacBook Pros?

With supplies dwindling, Apple could be on the verge of releasing a new line of laptop computers based on Intel's Sandy Bridge processor.

Apple may be preparing to update its high-end line of laptop computers as supplies of its MacBook Pros continue to tighten at retail locations.

15-inch MacBook Pro

Citing unnamed sources, MacRumors on Wednesday said retailers are running low on stock of Apple's MacBook Pro computers. The report specifically notes shortages in the 15-inch and 17-inch models.

"At least one major retail chain has reportedly notified its branches that it has been unable to fulfill replenishment orders," writes Eric Slivka for MacRumors.

While a shortage in supply in itself isn't necessarily an indication of new products, Apple history shows when supplies become constrained, the company is preparing for new products. Apple has become masterful in its management of the supply chain, so retailers not being able to get more product raises flags.

Currently Apple's online store shows all of its MacBook Pro laptops will ship within 24 hours, which means the company does have stock for itself.

Apple's new MacBook Pro line is expected to use Intel's Sandy Bridge processor. Intel claims that with this new generation of CPUs, content creation is up to 42 percent faster and gaming up to 50 percent faster than with previous generations.

The CNET Labs team did some benchmarking of the new chips earlier this month.