Apple updates MacBook Pro line-up: Official details emerge

The speculation is over, Apple has announced the official details of its refreshed MacBook Pro line-up and, as expected, it includes Thunderbolt I/O technology for all models.

Available in 13-, 15- and 17-inch screen sizes, the new MacBooks also each include a FaceTime webcam for the first time and processors have been given a bit of a boost. The 13-inch version now features an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 dual-core processor up to 2.7GHz and Intel HD Graphics 3000, depending on how much you're willing to lay out, while the larger two sport quad-core i7 processors up to 2.3GHz and AMD Radeon HD graphics processors with up to 1GB of video memory.

They also each come with Mac OS X Snow Leopard and iLife pre-installed.

Thunderbolt I/O technology has been developed by Intel (as Light Speed on other devices) and is a new optical cable transfer standard that offers speeds up to 10Gbps. It allows super fast sharing of files and information between compatible devices, and is expected to appear in many more computers and peripherals over the coming year.

As Apple explains, "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."

Aesthetically, the new MacBook Pro range is very similar to its former incarnations, with the same aluminium unibody enclosure, glass Multi-Touch trackpad, LED-backlit display and illuminated keyboard on each version. They also boast a claimed 7-hour battery life.

They'll all be available from the Apple Store as of today at a whole range of prices:

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with 2.3GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 320GB hard drive starts at £999; with the step-up version including a 2.7GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 500GB hard drive starting at £1,299.

Its 15-inch equivalent comes in two models; one with a 2.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6490M and 500GB hard drive starting at £1,549, and one with a 2.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive starting at £1,849.

Finally, the new 17-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive and is priced at £2,099.

Other add-on features, such as faster processors and larger hard drives are available in some cases.