After weeks of a growing chorus of rumors and anecdotal evidence, Apple is expected to announce a series of updates to its popular MacBook Pro line of laptops later today. At the same time, Intel is hosting a press event that is widely expected to formally introduce its long-awaited Light Peak technology. A new type of connection for peripherals and displays, Light Peak is said to be significantly faster than USB 3.0, and can carry bidirectional data at up to 10Gbps.
What exactly we'll see from Apple is anyone's guess, but posts from Mac news Web sites point toward a major series of upgrades, from new CPUs and graphics options, to a version of Intel's Light Peak connection technology. According to purported specs originally from German Web site fscklog.com and reposted at MacRumors.com, at least one of the new MacBook Pro models will have a next-generation Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and Intel's HD 3000 integrated graphics. The same source says that Apple's version of Light Peak will be called Thunderbolt and share a common plug with MacBooks' current mini-DisplayPort connector.
Separately, CNET contributor Brooke Crothers suggests that long-time GPU supplier Nvidia will be replaced by Intel's improved integrated graphics in the 13-inch models, and by AMD graphics in the larger systems.
Up to this point, the most recently updated MacBooks have been the second-generation MacBook Air models from the fall of 2010. Both the 11- and 13-inch versions of the Air use older Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs, but the 13-inch Air has a native display resolution of 1,440x900 pixels, making it the highest-resolution 13-inch MacBook available. We'd love to see these higher-res screens come to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, at least as an upgrade option.
Stay tuned during the day, and we'll bring you any new developments on new MacBook Pros and Intel's Light Peak as it develops, including a live blog from Intel's press briefing at 10 a.m. PST.