Apple online stores across the world are currently offline, fuelling speculation that new MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops are on the cards.

Mac fans have been eagerly expecting updated laptops since January, their ardour tempered only slightly by the arrival of the MacBook Air at Macworld.

New SKU product codes

Reports yesterday suggest that Best Buy off-shoot Future Shop has been given new SKU product codes by Apple. The MB402LL/A and MB403LL/A are priced at $1,149 (£590) and $1,349 (£690) Canadian dollars respectively. This suggests the new models will be MacBooks rather than MacBook Pros.

Apple has released a flurry of new hardware and software in the last few weeks, fulfilling a promise made by CEO Steve Jobs that new kit would appear throughout 2008.

So far this year Apple has launched the MacBook Air, Apple TV take 2 and the TimeCapsule backup drive. It has also beefed up the storage capacity of both the iPhone and iPod touch, issued software updates for both, and released a pink iPod nano. It's also been busy on the software front, with a major overhaul of Aperture - its pro digital photo program.

Still to come, and expected imminently, is a Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone, which will finally open it up to Apple-approved third-party apps.

More news as soon as we have it.

[via Engadget]