Is this the last MacBook refresh before the next big Apple announcement?

Could Apple's latest MacBook Pro refresh be the last?

Apple has refreshed the MacBook Pro family of laptops, offering up-to-date hardware, a new shell and a more efficient set of devices for 2010 and onwards. My question is simple. How far can Apple keep going with the MacBook and MacBook Pro line up?

Andrew Nusca kindly posted a full, exhaustive list of new features and hardware in the new MacBook Pro line up, including a much longer battery life and a faster CPU and graphics. It's certainly worth a read for a detailed, fact filled review of what they have to offer.

The MacBook family have been around for nearly four full years, first debuting in 2006. Since then they have taken off, making Apple billions and spreading the "beautiful" versions Mac OS X into the public eye; coffee shops, libraries and at universities, no longer confined to the desktop. It wasn't the first laptop they had; the PowerBook line was relatively popular but there were issues of which customers were not too happy with.

Since then, Apple has pushed the limits of computing by bringing out the MacBook Air - the slimmest laptop they had ever built. It was practically razor sharp in the look but sound and environmentally friendly under the hood. Sure, it didn't have an in-built optical drive and it was too thin for certain features to be included, but it was beautiful and still worked incredibly well.

But because Apple is so secretive with their work, it's hard to know the design details or implications as a result of what we see in the finished products. The world has no real idea the lengths the development teams go to in building the devices and packing everything in they can - mindful of space, aesthetics, power and efficiency.

The discussion of the intended target market is never-ending. Though the Air was criticised for filling a market that didn't exist, this didn't matter. A void was filled nonetheless. In my experience and my perspective, the MacBook, the Pro and the Air, are still used by an albeit small percentage of students but those are the ones who require it for their work. I know - it sounds crazy - choosing a device that you actually need, but Mac's just work for some people, and not against them like Windows sometimes does.

The MacBook line up will not last forever. I do believe that this will be the last revision that we shall see until Apple stirs up the tech world with a series of strange, mysterious rumours where it will lead to an announcement in similar-style to that of the iPad. No doubt in the coming years there will be a big fanfare, pomp and wonder at what they have next to offer. It'll basically be the same thing, yet equally revamped in a significant way.

Even though I am hardly Apple's biggest fan, in my eyes it has made the company what it is. Just because I won't buy one doesn't mean a great number of students won't. They suit the user perfectly, they are built excellently and they don't slowly decline over the timeline of an ordinary laptop.

Call me a hypocrite, but long live the MacBook line up. What about you?