With the Apple MacBook event slated to kick off in just a matter of hours, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has been able to confirm several of the rumors, debunk others and lay out some compelling guess for the rest. It’s definitely worth noting that Gruber is the same person who nailed Oct. 14 as the date for this event several weeks ago.

What to expect later today? According to Gruber:

  • Newly redesigned MacBooks and MacBook Pros.
  • The MacBook Pro images leaked earlier are real.
  • The new trackpad has no button because the entire thing is a glass button that can be clicked.
  • Matte finish will no longer be an option for screens, it’s all glossy. (At least for the Pro models.)
  • The 17-inch MacBook Pro will get no design update. It could be getting phased out.

As for his educated guesses:

  • The new MacBooks will look similar to the MacBook Pros but with 13-inch screens (instead of 15 inches).
  • The MacBook Air will look the same, but will get spec updates — including a 128 gigabyte solid state drive.
  • CPU speeds will largely be the same, but performance increases will come from the new Nvidia graphic chips.
  • The MacBook Pro will get the two-GPU chip, which should work well with next year’s OS X Snow Leopard release.
  • The $800 MacBook rumor was false.
  • But there will be a sub-$1,000 MacBook, a $999 old-school white plastic one.
  • The cheapest of the new ones will be $1,299, which Gruber thinks will enrage people (he’s probably right).
  • The $899 mystery object, is a new 24-inch Cinema Display monitor. It’s LED-driven.

If Gruber is right on all counts, I do expect a lot of people will be disappointed. People in the market for new MacBook Pros will be happy as the new ones look great and I expect the new glass trackpad with no button will have some cool multi-touch stuff built-in. But those looking at the regular MacBooks may be disappointed by a $1,299 price (which is $200 more than the current entry-level MacBook).

A $999 old-school MacBook is a good deal, but expectations have been set now — wrongly or not — and in troubled economic times, people will say the Apple notebooks aren’t cheap enough.

If a new MacBook doesn’t appear for under $1,000, it will be a strong sign that Apple is committed to premium quality rather than reaching the masses. On some levels you have to respect that. As a Mac user of a few years now (currently with three systems), I certainly have no problem paying a bit more for what I believe is a higher quality product.

There is some chatter that the battery life on these systems will be improved. If battery life gets raised significantly while making the machines slightly smaller, that would be good news, but still probably not “wowing.”

The new Cinema Display idea still seems very odd to me. Why just release one new display? And at an event for laptops of all places? Now if it were a multi-touch screen that would be a different story…

See everyone in a few hours when all is revealed.