Apple today updated its MacBook Pro line of notebooks with the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors, memory up to 4GB, and high-speed graphics from Nvidia, the GeForce 8600M GT.

Apple has also introduced a new mercury-free, power-efficient LED-backlit display and a 17-inch model with an optional high-resolution display in its updated iteration of its MacBook Pro range.

The company has also reduced UK prices across the range: the two available 15-inch models retail at £1,299 and £1,599 today, while their previous equivalent models cost £1,349 and £1,699 respecitvely. The new top-of-the-range 17-inch MacBook Pro costs £1,799, while the model it replaces previously cost £1,899.

"With Intel Core 2 Duo performance, more memory and state-of-the-art graphics, this MacBook Pro is a portable powerhouse for creative and professional users," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.

"Apple's notebooks have always led the industry in innovation with features like built-in 802.11 and the MagSafe Power Adapter, and now the industry's first 15-inch LED-backlit display is another step toward completely eliminating mercury from our displays."

All models in the new range include the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB of shared L2 cache, an 800 MHz frontside bus and 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory.

The company claims significant performance advantages from the new processors, promising that Final Cut Pro 6 and Logic Pro 7 will run more than 50 per cent faster than they do on the original 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro.

Three models are available: the 2.2GHz and 2.4 GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro models, and a 2.4 GHz 17-inch MacBook Pro model.

The 17-inch model now offers an optional 1,920-x-1,200 high-resolution display, providing over 30 per cent more screen space than the standard 1,680-x-1,050 displa

All models include a built-in iSight video camera for video conferencing, Apple's MagSafe Power Adapter and the latest generation of 802.11n wireless networking. They ship with iLife 06 and Mac OS X 10.4.9 'Tiger'.

They also feature built-in 10/100/1000 BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed networking, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), a FireWire 800 and a FireWire 400 port, a backlit illuminated keyboard, an ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot and a DVI video output to connect up to a 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display.

The 2.2 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro (£1,299), includes:

- 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
- 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 4GB;
- 120GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5,400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
- A slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R, DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
- NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 128MB GDDR3 memory;
- Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;
- Infrared Apple Remote.

The 2.4 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro (£1,599), includes:

- 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
- 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 4GB;
- 160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5,400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
- A slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R, DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
- NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB GDDR3 memory;
- Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;
- Infrared Apple Remote.

The 2.4 GHz, 17-inch MacBook Pro, (£1,799), includes:

-17-inch widescreen 1,680-x-1,050 LCD display;
- 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor;
- 2GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 4GB;
- 160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5,400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
- A slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R, DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
- NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB GDDR3 memory;
- Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;
- Infrared Apple Remote.

Additional build-to-order options for the MacBook Pro include the ability to upgrade to a 160GB (5,400 rpm), 160GB (7,200 rpm), 200GB (4,200 rpm) or a 250GB (4,200 rpm) hard drive.

All prices include VAT.