All eyes on the MacBook

With this year’s iPhone and iPod updates behind them, Apple watchers have shifted their attention to the products that matter most to the company’s bottom line: the MacBook and the increasingly long-in-the-tooth MacBook Pro.

Steve Jobs likes to refer to the Mac as one of the three legs of Apple’s stool (the iPod and iPhone being the other two). But that makes for a pretty tippy stool; Macs represent more than 48% of Apple’s quarterly revenue these days and MacBooks account for 62% of that.

Sales of Apple’s laptops have been on fire lately (no overheating pun intended). On Wednesday, NPD reported that Apple’s (AAPL) share of the North American notebook market grew from 6.6% to 10.6% over the past year — a 60% increase that easily outpaced market leaders Dell (DELL)

That’s almost certainly too much to ask for, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

Images purporting to be photos of the new machines have already started to appear on the Web. The one at right showed up earlier this week on a German T-Mobile website, but the consensus seems to be that it’s a fake. If history is any guide, however, we should be seeing fuzzy spy shots of the real thing any day now.

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