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Apple has launched a refreshed line of its upmarket MacBook Pro notebooks with Intel’s new dual- and quad-core Sandy Bridge processors and new high-speed I/O ports using so-called Thunderbolt technology co-developed by Intel and Apple.

Apple has launched a refreshed line of its upmarket MacBook Pro notebooks with Intel’s new dual- and quad-core Sandy Bridge processors and new high-speed I/O ports using so-called Thunderbolt technology co-developed by Intel and Apple.

The new portable Macs are the first computers by any maker to use Thunderbolt – previously code-named Light Peak. It has two bi-directional channels, each delivering data at 10Gbps.

With a Mini DisplayPort interface, it is also used to connect an external monitor; other adapters enable FireWire and USB connections as well as Gigabit Ethernet.

The video cameras built into the new MacBook Pros are claimed to have three times the resolution of their predecessors. Instead of referring to them as iSight, Apple now calls them FaceTime HD – a reference to its FaceTime system for video calls.

The MacBook Pros have aluminium unibody enclosures, glass multi-touch trackpads, illuminated keyboards and a claimed seven-hour battery.

Australian pricing starts at $1399 for a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.3GHz dual-core i5 chip. Two 15-inch models with quad-core i7s go for $2099 and $2499. Top dog is a 17-incher with 2.2GHz quad-core i7 at $2899.

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