Happy Birthday, Steve Jobs: in celebration Apple has revised all 3 models of MacBook Pro. Read all about them at Apple's site.
The 13" was advanced the most: It now has the Intel Core i5 instead of the earlier Core2Duo, like the rest of the line. Still $1199, you get that processor, 4Gb RAM, 320Gb internal HD and the Intel HD Graphics 3000 card.
Spend $300 more and move up to the 2.7 GHz i7 processor and a 500Gb drive. Then it gets interesting:
Go to the store's Configuration page and you can start boosting it up. Add $200 for 8Gb RAM. Add $100 more for a 750Gb hard drive. Take a deep breath and realize, that's 3/4 Terabyte in a laptop! Or, if you really want speed, use a Solid State Drive like the Air does and replace the stock HD with 128Gb SSD for $200, 256Gb for $600, or go nuts with a half-terabyte SSD drive for $1,200 more. That'll take it to $1799 with the HD or $2899 with the SSD.
You can do all this with the 15" and 17" models as well, for proportionately more.
This means, of course, that unsold stock of previous models will drop a tad. The 13" model would be perfect for most people if you add in a non-Apple large display for under $200. Mine is a 24" Asus.
If you like very light and not as quick for under $2 grand, I did it with the current MacBook Air.
Time to polish up the ol' credit card. If you like paying even higher interest, you can finance through the Apple Store, but if you pay if off in 12 months, there is no interest charge. They do it through the Barclay Bank Visa.
While it's so new there is no real support for it yet, the Thunderbolt port, which serves as the Mini DisplayPort, can also connect to high speed RAID drive systems and transfer data faster than any other format.
This looks like why Apple has been ignoring USB 3.0 and has not been talking about FireWire 1600, the logical next step beyond 800.
In order to use it with an external display, one would have to be designed to plug both devices into a single port, and that does not yet exist.
While a fully maxed-out 15" model with 512Gb SSD and 8Gb RAM would push the price near $4 grand, it would substitute for any model iMac and any MacPro, as long as you didn't need the Pro's expansion slots.
Read more about Thunderbolt here.
Nice as it is, I feel no motivation to trade in my newly-acquired MacBook Air. If I wanted to, I could make HDTV movies on it using one of the USB-based video cameras. But if I were a pro filmmaker the new laptops might be on my shopping list.