After the usual weeks of frenzied internet speculation, Apple has updated its MacBook Pro line, giving processors and graphics a boost, adding a new FaceTime-enabled HD camera and bolting on a high-speed Thunderbolt I/O port.
There’s not an awful lot to get excited about to be honest, but the stand out new feature is the inclusion of Thunderbolt (Light Peak) technology, developed in collaboration with Intel.
Marked by a lightning bolt icon (and you don’t get much faster than one of them) the port is a dual Thunderbolt/DisplayPort I/O port affair offering two bi-directional channels with data transfer speeds up to a whizz-bang 10 Gbps.
Improved HD camera
If video chats are your thing you may get more than we do out of the new FaceTime HD camera which triples the resolution of the previous MacBook Pro cameras, so you can gaze at each other in full 720p glory. If you want to chat with poorer relatives on older machines, they’ll have to shell out $0.99 for the Apple FaceTime for Mac app.
Intel’s new Sandy Bridge CPU architecture is on board, backed with a switch to AMD Radeon graphics for the 15-inch and a 17-inch models (these previously motored along on Nvidia’s graphics chips).
Here’s how Apple like to introduce the increased power on offer:
The 13-inch MacBook Pro now features a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor or the fastest dual-core processor available — the 2.7GHz Intel Core i7. With Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.4GHz, these processors allow the 13-inch MacBook Pro to perform up to twice as fast as the previous generation.1
But we couldn’t leave fast alone. The new 15- and 17-inch models bring quad-core power to almost everything you do. The available 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor — with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.4GHz and up to 8MB of shared L3 cache — enables these MacBook Pro models to run applications up to twice as fast as their top-of-the-line predecessors.
As is Apple’s way, all the new MacBook Pro’s come in at the pricier end of the spectrum, with the 13-inch starting £999, the 15-inch from £1,549 and the 17-inch a leg-crossing £2,099, but they do all look rather lovely.
Here’s the full press release:
Apple Updates MacBook Pro with Next Generation Processors, Graphics & Thunderbolt I/O Technology
CUPERTINO, California—February 24, 2011—Apple® today updated the industry-leading MacBook® Pro family with next generation processors and graphics, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology and a new FaceTime® HD camera. Featuring the very latest dual-core and quad-core Intel Core processors, the entire MacBook Pro line is up to twice as fast as the previous generation.*
“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.”
Starting at $1,199 the new 13-inch MacBook Pro offers amazing value and performance in a compact design. The highly portable 13-inch MacBook Pro features Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors up to 2.7 GHz and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The powerful 15-inch and 17-inch 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 for high performance gaming, pro video editing and graphics intensive applications.
MacBook Pro is the first computer on the market to include the groundbreaking Thunderbolt I/O technology. Developed by Intel with collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt enables expandability never before possible on a notebook computer. Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to an amazing 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance 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. Freely available for implementation on systems, cables and devices, Thunderbolt technology is expected to be widely adopted as a new standard for high performance I/O.
The MacBook Pro now includes a built-in FaceTime HD camera with triple the resolution of the previous generation for crisp, widescreen video calls. With Apple’s innovative FaceTime video calling software, the new camera allows high definition video calls between all new MacBook Pro models and supports standard resolution calls with other Intel-based Macs, iPhone® 4 and the current generation iPod touch®. FaceTime is included with all new MacBook Pro models and is available for other Intel-based Macs from the Mac® App Store℠ for 99 cents. The MacBook Pro lineup continues to feature its gorgeous aluminum unibody enclosure, glass Multi-Touch™ trackpad, LED-backlit widescreen display, illuminated full-size keyboard and 7-hour battery.**
As the industry’s greenest notebook lineup, every Mac notebook achieves EPEAT Gold status and meets Energy Star 5.0 requirements, setting the standard for environmentally friendly notebook design.*** Each unibody enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Mac notebooks contain no brominated flame retardants, are PVC-free and are constructed with recyclable materials.
Every Mac comes with Mac OS® X Snow Leopard®, the world’s most advanced operating system, and iLife®, Apple’s innovative suite of applications for creating and sharing great photos, movies and music. Snow Leopard builds on more than a decade of innovation and includes multiple features for portable computing such as Multi-Touch navigation, advanced wireless networking, easy file sharing, automated data backup and intelligent power management. The new iLife ’11 features iPhoto® with stunning full screen views for browsing, editing and sharing photos; iMovie® with powerful easy-to-use tools to transform home videos into fun theatrical trailers; and GarageBand® with new ways to improve your playing and create great sounding songs.
Pricing & Availability
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro, 15-inch MacBook Pro and 17-inch MacBook Pro are available through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in two configurations: one with a 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 320GB hard drive starting at $1,199; and one with a 2.7 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 500GB hard drive starting at $1,499. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is 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 $1,799 and one with a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive starting at $2,199. 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 $2,499.
Configure-to-order options include faster quad-core processors up to 2.3 GHz, additional hard drive capacity up to 750GB, solid state storage up to 512GB, more memory up to 8GB DDR3, antiglare and high-resolution display options and AppleCare® Protection Plan. Additional technical specifications and configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/macbookpro.