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New MacBooks could arrive in October

Apple watchers have expected new MacBooks for quite a while, and now that Apple has new iPods out the door, the notebook lineup could be the next product upgrade.

A mid-October MacBook launch misses the back-to-school rush, but has Apple in the right place for the holidays. Apple

With new iPods out of the way, the next priority for Apple is the Mac.

John Gruber at Daring Fireball is reporting that Apple will roll out new MacBooks on October 14, which fits the usual Apple profile of launching new products on a Tuesday. We've expected thatnew Apple notebooks are coming for some time, with reports of a redesigned exterior for the MacBook to go along with Intel's latest mobile chips.

If that date comes to pass, Apple will have officially missed the back-to-school shopping season, which is generally one of the best-selling quarters for the Mac. Even if it launched the new notebooks tomorrow it would have missed most of the college students who were looking to upgrade before heading back to campus, but delays with the launch of Intel's Centrino 2 mobile chips probably didn't help.

By all appearances the Mac is still selling pretty well, but new notebooks never hurt, especially heading into the holiday season. I've also heard a few rumblings about new iMacs--perhaps just a speed bump--around the same time, but Gruber's report didn't elaborate on the iMac.