After an early morning bit of store downtime, Apple has released new MacBook Pro models this morning, as rumored/longed for/expected lo these many weeks. The 15" and 17" models now use the i5 and i7 Intel dual-core processors (at 2.4, 2.53GHz or 2.66Ghz, respectively -- gigahertz numbers no longer displayed quite so prominently on the product page), giving them a big performance boost and permitting hyperthreading (up to 4 virtual cores).

They also include the GeForce GT 330M graphics chip, and the NVIDIA-driven Optimus technology to switch from the high-end video subsystem to integrated graphics on the fly to improve power management -- this used to involve a logout/login cycle, but now simply requires that you transform your laptop into a giant robot. (No, not really.)

[Although NVIDIA does market their Optimus tech for dynamic GPU switching, the company tells AppleInsider that Apple is not using it for the implementation on the new MBPs. –MR]

The improved power handling lets the 15" and 17" models go up to 8-9 hours on one battery charge. All MBPs now include 4GB of RAM standard.

The 15" model adds new display options: the normal, glossy 1440x900 screen, or a denser 1680x1050 panel with either glossy or matte coatings. The 17" display is a glossy 1920x1200 behemoth.

The 13" keeps the Core 2 Duo chip but bumps up maximum speed to 2.66GHz, and adds the GeForce 320M graphics card. Battery life is up to 10 hours.

The 13" low-end unit price is $1199; the top-end 17" model now goes for $2299 but does not include the i7 chip, which is only available as a preconfigured option on the highest-end 15" ($2199). You can get the i7 as a BTO option on the 17" model.

More in a moment...

Thanks to everyone for your tips and tweets.


This article was originally published on Tuaw.