CDC pushes masks indoors again Activision Blizzard lawsuit Simone Biles pulls out of second event Hidden Amazon perks 4 million unemployment refunds coming

New MacBook Pro models coming this year?

Apple could release new MacBook Pro models before Christmas, packing more powerful Intel Sandy Bridge processors.

Apple could be planning to release a new load of MacBook Pro laptops before the end of the year, making for a very expensive stocking stuffer this Christmas season.

The good word comes via Apple Insider, which cites anonymous sources with 'proven insight into Apple's future product plans.' It doesn't look like we can expect a massive overhaul though -- apparently the refresh could just slot in some more powerful processors.

So why now? Well, Intel recently introduced a few new versions of its powerful quad-core Core i7 chip, in 2.4, 2.5 and 2.7GHz flavours. The current version of the 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pro, which was released in February, offers 2.0, 2.2 and 2.3GHz options, so the idea is that Apple would simply sneak in those new processors to keep the MacBook Pro competitive.

The smaller 13-inch MacBook Pro meanwhile could move from a dual-core Core i7 2.7GHz chip to a 2.8GHz version. The report says we could see the new versions as soon as later this month, after Apple's back-to-school sale finishes.

As we mentioned before, the existing MacBook Pro came out in February, packing a Thunderbolt port and a FaceTime HD camera. It's unusual for us to get two refreshes in one year, but Intel's line of cool new processors -- dubbed 'Ivy Bridge' -- isn't due until 2012, at which point Apple will probably bring out new MacBook Pro models again.

Apple will be particularly keen to keep the MacBook Pro on the cutting edge, as we're seeing loads of exciting new laptops coming out from rival manufacturers. Called 'ultrabooks', these slim, light and powerful computers are built to take on the MacBook Air, but could equally trouble the more chunky MacBook Pro.

Would you shell out for a MacBook Pro with an improved processor? Let us know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.