While we were all but certain that Apple was going to refresh its MacBook Pro line today, the updates that it has brought are very interesting indeed.
The new MacBook Pros will bring Sandy Bridge, Thunderbolt I/O and FaceTime HD cameras claiming the new systems will be up to twice as fast as the previous iteration of the line. Thunderbolt, for those who don't know, is Apple implementation of Intel's Light Peak, which promises 10Gb/second transfer rates - and that's both ways people, so you get 10Gb/second to and from your device. There will be two versions or the 13in and 15.4in models with just one new 17incher. What was also rumoured and has proven to be true, is that graphics will now be handled by AMD silicon which means it's the end of the road for Nvidia.
"The new MacBook Pro brings next generation dual and quad Core processors, high performance graphics, Thunderbolt technology and FaceTime HD to the great design loved by our pro customers," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Thunderbolt is a revolutionary new I/O technology that delivers an amazing 10 gigabits per second and can support every important I/O standard which is ideal for the new MacBook Pro."
The 13in models, can be customized with Intel's second generation Core i5 or i7 dual core processors up to 2.7 GHz and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The 15in and 17in MacBook Pro models feature quad-core Core i7 processors up to 2.3 GHz and AMD Radeon HD graphics processors with up to 1GB of video memory. Thunderbolt I/O will be available on all the new models and Apple says it could be used for peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays.
The integrated FaceTime HD cameras replace the iSight versions of old and claim triple the resolution. FaceTime's video-calling software is included in all new models and can be downloaded to other Intel-based Macs for 59p.
The 13in model is available in two configurations: one with a 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 320GB hard drive starting at £999; and one with a 2.7 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 500GB hard drive starting at £1299. The new 15in version is also available in two models: one with a 2.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6490M and 500GB hard drive starting at £1549.00 and one with a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive starting at £1849. The new 17-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive and is priced at £2099.