Apple MacBook update on the cards: Lion OS and double power

Apple announced that it will be updating its MacBook Pro featuring the next generation of processors and graphics, as well releasing an updated Mac OS with iPad style features.

The range of revamped MacBook Pros will also feature fast Thunderbolt I/O technology and a high definition FaceTime camera to go with the latest dual-core and quad-core Intel processors, leading to claims from Apple that the new breed of Pros will be up to twice as fast as the previous batch.

Apple is particularly proud of its “groundbreaking” Thunderbolt I/O technology, created in collaboration with Intel, which enables greater expandability than previously seen.

“Thunderbolt is a revolutionary new I/O technology that delivers an amazing 10 gigabits per second and can support every important I/O standard which is ideal for the new MacBook Pro,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

The new FaceTime HD camera will apparently triple the resolution of the previous incarnation of the MacBook, to enable high def video calls between a range of Apple devices such as the iPhone 4.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro will feature i5 and i7 dual core processors up to 2.7 GHz, with Intel HD Graphics 3000.

The more powerful 15 and 17-inch models will feature quad-core i7 processors up to 2.3GHz alongside AMD Radeon HD Graphics with up to 1GB of video memory that will easily allow high performance gaming, video editing and other such intensive applications.

All of this continues to be housed in an aluminum enclosure, with glass Multi-Touch trackpad as would be expected of a MacBook, as well as a LED-backlit widescreen display, illuminated full-size keyboard and 7-hour battery life.

The range of notebooks is expected to retail at a starting point of $1,199 for the 13-inch model, with faster processor and larger HDD ramping the price up to $1,499.

Meanwhile the 15-inch models will retail at both $1,799 and $2,199, and the 17-inch costing $2,499.

All of the MacBook Pros will feature the Mac X Snow Leopard operating system.

Apple gave some insight today into its new Mac OS X Lion system, taking many ideas from the successes of the iPad tablet.

Lion will feature Mission Control that unfies Expose, Dashboard, Spaces and full screen apps allowing for an overview of all apps and windows by zooming out to allow instant navigation.

Another new feature, Launchpad, is aimed at making it easie to find and launch an application, by displaying all of them on full screen at the touch of one button.

Users will also be able to arrange apps into multiple pages and swipe between them.

Lion will include the Mac App store which will allow apps to be purchased and installed onto the LaunchPad.

Also in the large number of new or updated features will be a new version of Mail, again inspired by the iPad.

A preview of Lion can be found on the App Store, with the full version likely to be available this summer.