In a widely anticipated move, Apple has finally updated its MacBook Pro line of notebook computers with Intel's latest chips and several other improvements across the board. Both the 15 and 17-inch models are now available with a Core i5 chip as standard and the i7 as an option. Although the 13-inch model still uses a Core 2 Duo processor, Apple has seen fit to increase the base RAM configuration to 4GB on all models and bump the hard drive and SSD options.

Replacing the Nvidia 9400M and 9600M GT cards of previous gen models is the GeForce GT 320M and 330M, with a choice of graphics memory options. The 15 and 17-inch MacBooks will use Nvidia's Optimus technology will be able to switch between the on-package Intel HD integrated graphics and the discrete GPU for a healthy boost in battery life*. Apple quotes a ten hour runtime for the 13-inch model and from eight to nine hours on the larger two.

The 15-inch model also gains the option of a higher resolution screen with either glossy or matte coatings: 1680 x 1050 pixels against the standard 1440 x 900. All other features are pretty much the same, as is the starting price for each model: $1,199 for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, $1,799 for the 15-inch version and $2,299 the 17-inch behemoth. The new notebooks will start shipping within 24 hours, according to Apple's store.

*Update: AppleInsider informs that the GPU switching technology used on the MacBooks was developed in-house by Apple and is not Nvidia's Optimus.