The Mac mini and MacBook may be about to undergo a refresh with a new 2011 model as stock shortages hit Online Apple Stores in many European countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and France. The delivery times for the Mac mini or the MacBook in these countries has slipped in the past day from 24 hours to 2 days. As such, it is possible that Apple is winding down stock levels in preparation for the launch of new model. Currently it seems as if the Mac mini is experiencing greater shortages throughout Europe, but the shipping times for the MacBook in some European Stores have slipped over the past day or two.
The Mac mini is due for an update with the last update taking place in June 2010. The MacBook last received an update in May 2010. The new models would be expected to incorporate the new Thunderbolt interface as well as the new Intel processors with Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, as introduced with the recent refresh of the MacBook Pro.
With shortages also being seen in the iMac, it is likely that Apple are unifying the entire Mac line-up to include the new Thunderbolt interface as well as taking advantage of the latest Intel processors. We originally predicted a new model of MacBook would be released in April 2011.
Update: We have been told by someone familiar with the matter that it may or may not be a Store issue. Notably however, Amazon UK is also showing drastic shortages of the Mac mini and MacBook. It’s a funny one folks.