Apple has now completely done away with the Core2Duo type Intel chips, and has the dual-core i5 (13” and 15” models) and quad-core i7 (15” and 17” models) standard. This should mean a pretty significant bump for those of us still on the C2D style chips, especially noticeable on the 13” models.
They’ve also updated the built-in iSight camera to HD, and with their upgraded FaceTime desktop app you’ll be able to do 720p video with other FaceTime connected systems. The new app comes free on the new systems, but existing MacBooks/MacBook Pros/iMacs can upgrade the app for $0.99 – they should be able to receive the call in HD, but wouldn’t be able to send HD video with the old cameras.
Apple’s surprised us as well by switching the graphics from NVidia to AMD. Time will tell what the real world performance is, but they are promising better gaming and HD video processing power. The improved Intel graphics chipset is also there for mobile use (improved battery life), though it’s the only option for the 13” model. The AMD comes in with the 15” model, and you get the Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB of RAM in the low-end 15” and the Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB of RAM in the high-end 15” and 17” models.
Higer-resolution screens abound, with the 15” getting a 1650×1050 option over the standard 1440×900. Battery life is rated at up to 7 hours (wireless web browsing), we’ll see how it works with video processing or gaming on the go.
Overall, it’s a pretty solid update – rumored to be the last refresh of the current design, with a whole redesign coming in the 2012 refresh cycle (interested to see if they integrate some of the new processes they picked up with the LiquidMetal acquisition last year). I have one on the way to replace an aging MacBook Pro having a tough time with editing and processing HD video, so my hands-on review will be coming soon as well. The new MacBook Pro starts at $1,199 for the 13″ model up to $2,499 for the 17″ model, and of course you have all sorts of options to customize it as your own.