Rumors of an imminent MacBook Pro refresh were confirmed today as Apple unveiled the latest entries in their line of consumer notebooks.

The upgrades' most significant feature is their inclusion of Thunderbolt, the high speed I/O technology developed by Apple and Intel. With transfer speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, Thunderbolt's performance is twenty times that of USB 2.0 and twelve times that of Firewire. The new MacBook Pro models are the first to use the technology.

The Thunderbolt technology is also compatible with Firewire and USB via adaptors, though Apple did not release any information on the specifications and prices of the devices. Thunderbolt, based off of the same technology as DisplayPort, is compatible Apple's previous display adaptors.

The latest Macbook Pro models also offer significant processor upgrades, doubling the speed of previous models. Likewise, the new Radeon graphics processors triple the speed of previous generations.

Included in the new models is an update to the Macbook Pro's FaceTime camera, which working with the newest version of the FaceTime software, offers HD-ready video calls at three times the resolution of previous models.

The 13-inch model, which offers Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, starts at $1,199. The 15-inch model, starting at $1799, and the 17-inch model, which runs for just under $2500, both offer quad-core Core i7 processors and dedicated AMD Radeon graphics processors.

No new version of OS X was announced with the new models, which will still run Snow Leopard. The company has released a developer's preview of Lion, the next OS, ahead of the next upgrade.

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