Today Apple launched the new MacBook Pro, which rather than being a complete revamp, are a fantastic specification update using the existing design. The new releases include new Sandy Bridge core i3, i5 and i7 processors, larger hard drives, new graphics processors, a higher spec FaceTime HD camera and, perhaps most importantly, the new Thunderbolt / Light Peak port.
The new models are available in 13.3, 15.4 and 17 inch screen sizes and Apple also offers the ability for users to customize their screen in a matte option. For the 17 inch screen size, Apple is offering users the ability to include a quad-core i7, the first time a quad-core processor has been used in an Apple laptop. It is also worth noticing that, in the higher end models, Apple is moving from NVidia graphics chipsets to AMD chipsets (previously known as ATI). The lower end models utilize Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics chips.
The new MacBook Pro models include Thunderbolt, the Light Peak based technology that Apple touts as being 20 times faster than USB 2.0, running at 10Gbps which is twice as fast as USB. The port also provides 10 watts of power to peripherals and you can use adaptors to connect existing FireWire and USB peripherals although obviously you won’t see the same speed. Apple obviously sees this interface as the future of peripheral connections and it will be no surprise when an explosion of Thunderbolt compatible peripherals appears on the market.
The new FaceTime HD camera included in the MacBook Pro is partnered with the latest version of the FaceTime application, available for all users on the Mac App Store now for $0.99 but included with the new MacBook Pro (if you are dropping that amount of dosh on a new MacBook Pro, you have to get some perks). Lucky users who upgrade to the new MacBook Pro will be able to make calls in full 720p HD.
Perhaps the biggest surprise or shock, is that Apple has retained the standard hard drive option rather than moving towards an SSD/HD hybrid or SSD only option as we, and most probably the rest of the word, had thought they would. It should be worth noting however, that Apple are offering it as an option in the MacBook Pro, as they were previously.
In addition, Apple has also retained the optical drive, a feature that many had thought would disappear. This indicates that the company is not quite ready to drop the drive in their high-end laptops which comes as a surprise given that the MacBook Air had set the trend of using USB for data porting.