Apple has lifted the lid on its new range of MacBook Pro laptops.

It was initially expected that the new MacBook Pros would be unveiled after Intel's Light Peak event due to take place at 1800GMT today though the new models were announced just before 1400GMT.

Using Intel's Sandy Bridge processors the new line features 13-, 15- and 17-inch models.

“The new MacBook Pro brings next generation dual and quad Core processors, high performance graphics, Thunderbolt technology and FaceTime HD to the great design loved by our pro customers,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

“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,” he continued.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at £999 and features Intel Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors up to 2.7 GHz and Intel HD Graphics 3000.

The 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models feature quad-core Core i7 processors up to 2.3 GHz and AMD Radeon HD graphics processors with up to 1GB of video memory for high performance gaming, pro video editing and graphics intensive applications.

The MacBook Pro also now includes a built-in FaceTime HD camera enabling high-definition video calls.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in two configurations: one with a 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 320GB hard drive starting at £999.00 inc VAT; and one with a 2.7 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 500GB hard drive starting at £1299.00 inc VAT.

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is available in two models: one with a 2.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6490M and 500GB hard drive starting at £1549.00 inc VAT and one with a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive starting at £1849.00 inc VAT.

The new 17-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive and is priced at £2099.00 inc VAT.

Today is also Steve Jobs' 56th birthday and the new MacBook Pro range is said to be a present for the Apple CEO.

Apple shareholders voted last night not to reveal succession plans for the company after Jobs steps down from his role as CEO.