News: Apple Intros New MacBook Pros, Thunderbolt

Posted on February 24, 2011

As expected, Apple released updated MacBook Pros with faster and more powerful everything, and the inclusion of Intel’s Thunderbolt technology (formerly Light Peak). Thunderbolt will replace the Mini DisplayPort found on prior MacBook Pros, and actually carry a number of protocols, including those found on the current Mini DisplayPort connector. These new machines feature quad core processors from Intel, based on the Sandy Bridge architecture.

Apple also includes some other changes, including branding the former iSight cameras as “FaceTime HD” cameras, and including a new version of FaceTime with them (current Mac owners will have to pay 99¢. Then again, more details reveal the specific specifications of the new machines:

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.

We suspect that the charge for FaceTime is based around accounting and legal reasons, much like the prior, inexpensive updates for networking.

This post has been filed in News