Apple may be planning to reveal a replacement for the 12-inch version of the PowerBook very soon, perhaps as early as Tuesday May 9. The new model may even become the first sighting of the MacBook range of Apple laptops.

In early April Think Secret claimed that Apple has begun manufacturing a 13-inch laptop that would be launched in the next 30-60 days.

This new laptop could either be an entry level MacBook Pro, or the replacement for the iBook – likely to take the MacBook name.

Further substance was added to the rumour today when it emerged that Apple’s link to its iPod webpage was damaged. Instead of showing details of Apple's iPod range, it showed a reference to "MacBook". The link has since been fixed, but the above screen shot illustrates the reference to MacBook.

There are also reports that Apple has issued Apple Stores with new point of sale material with strict instructions not to open before May 9.

Should Apple make the announcement on Tuesday this would coincide with the ruling in the Apple vs. Apple case taking place the day before. It may serve to take away some of the flack should the ruling not be in Apple’s favour.