Although 45nm quad-core mobile processors based on the Nehalem architecture have been available since last September, their power and thermal requirements made them unsuitable for most thin and light laptops. However, with Intel's recent launch of the 32nm "Arrandale" derivatives many are expecting Apple to eventually incorporate them into its MacBook lineup -- and if recent leaks are to be believed that may happen as soon as this month.

AppleInsider got its hands on an email promotion sent out to US, UK and Spanish members of the Intel Retail Edge Program -- a training program for Intel sales representatives -- announcing a January prize draw where retail employees can win a MacBook Pro featuring a Core i5 processor inside, even though Apple's entire notebook line is still using Core 2 Duo processors coupled with an Nvidia 9400M chipset.

No specific details were mentioned but naming the Core i5 provides a clue to the likely performance traits of forthcoming MacBook laptops. Only three mobile Core i5 chips are available so far, clocked at 2.26GHz, 2.4GHz and 2.53GHz. If the leak is accurate, the new systems may appear at a rumored media event believed to be scheduled for January 27, where many are hoping to see an Apple tablet of sorts be unveiled as well.