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Apple's MacBook Pros chucked out ahead of iPad 2

5-4-3-2-1 – Thunderbolts are go

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Apple parked its most diehard fans on the horns of a dilemma this afternoon, as it launched a range of new Macbook Pros, just a week before it unveils the latest iPad.

The updated 13-inch MacBook Pros are kitted out with Core i5 or Core i7 dual-core Intel chips running at up to 2.7GHz. They feature Intel HD Graphics 3000.

The 15-inch and 17-inch models come with quad core processors at up to 2.3GHz and AMD's Radeon HD graphics.

The new family is kitted out with Intel's Thunderbolt I/O technology, which features bi-directional channels running at what Apple calls "an amazing 10Gbps each". What does it take to be magical or revolutionary, we wonder?

The I/O technology will deliver PCI Express to peripherals, as well as supporting FireWire and USB devices, and Gigabit Ethernet – though you're going to need adapters for the latter, as well as for DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI or VGA displays.

Apple says the new MacBook Pro's FaceTime HD camera offers three times the resolution of its previous offering. While the top-level resolution will work when making calls between new MacBook Pros, you'll have to settle for the standard res if you're calling those saddled with other Macs, or the iPhone4.

There was no mention of what happens if you call an iPad though – surely Apple wouldn't want its richest fans to be talking to themselves one another at standard resolution?

UK prices for the new MacBook Pros start at £999, with the 15-inch priced from £1,549 and the 17 inch at £2,099. We can't give you any more information on prices for specific configurations as the Apple store is having a little rest while the new prices are marked up. ®

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