After an abnormally long wait for a product refresh, Apple has finally announced a new round of updates to the MacBook Pro line of notebooks. While on the outside there is no cosmetic difference with the new models, underneath the hood they have received significant improvements including better graphics, faster processors, longer battery life, and the option for a high-resolution display (15-inch model). The new Intel Core i5 and i7 processors with Hyper-Threading technology are only available on the 15-inch and 17-inch models, but offer a huge boost in performance over the previous generation MacBook Pro with Core 2 Duo processors.

“Apple today updated the MacBook Pro line with faster processors, powerful next-generation NVIDIA graphics and even longer battery life. The popular 13-inch MacBook Pro features the new NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor for up to 80 percent faster graphics and a groundbreaking 10-hour built-in battery. The new 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models feature Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and Apple’s new automatic graphics switching technology that toggles seamlessly between powerful NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and energy efficient Intel HD Graphics processors.”

The new automatic graphics switching should be a huge welcome for people who need powerful graphics but don’t want to kill their battery life. Previously the switch between the two graphics processors required a logout in Mac OS X. They are now including the option to buy the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a high-resolution display capable of 1680×1050 resolution, compared to the standard 1440×900. The 17-inch models still come standard with a display capable of 1920×1200 resolution. Already the newly upgraded MacBook Pros have been unboxed and benchmarked and so far the results are impressive. There are significant boosts in performance, particularly in the models that feature Intel Core i7 processors. Now that the long wait for the new MacBook Pro update is over, I wonder what the next product refresh from Apple will be.