McDonald's only just brought back its beloved rib-less McRibs and already it is planning to roll out an entry into the apparently hot chicken bites market. Who needs Chicken McNuggets when you can enjoy Chicken McBites? According to a company memo unearthed by Crain's the new McBites, which were tested out in Australia and recently made an appearance in Detroit, represent "Phase 2 of [McDonald's] chicken strategy toward becoming a credible destination for chicken." So expect to see a lot of McBites commercials come January, when the new product's 90-day national trial run begins. And for Phase 3, a line of soda cups made entirely of fried chicken?

The new McBites (which you might recognize as Popcorn Chicken in other fast food franchises) aren't expected to replace McNuggets on McDonald's menus, but they are possibly going to displace the more expensive Chicken Selects. So if those are your faves, you might want to stock up (or learn to love the cheaper, scoop-shaped chicken things at Popeyes).

It seems that McDonald's has high hopes for the humble chicken in 2012. In an earnings call last week Jim Skinner, McDonald's vice-chairman-CEO, spelled the company's hopes out: "We've continued to build on our equity in chicken. In the United States, this quarter, McNugget units were up nearly 10% over last year, as we featured four new dipping sauces. In addition, our premium chicken sandwich line with a new flavor profile and bakery-style whole grain bun continued to perform strongly."