Apple freezes prices with MacBook Pro refresh

Apple has sneaked out a quiet refresh of its premium MacBook Pro laptop line-up, without any major announcement or price increase.

All five MacBook Pro models - 13-inchers with 2.4 and 2.8GHz Intel Sandy Bridge chips; 15-inchers at 2.2 and 2.4GHz; and a 2.4GHz 17in model - now come with an upgrade spec at the same price tag they carried before the refresh.

The entry-level £999 model that features a 13in screen has had its 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor upgraded to 2.4GHz, and sports a 500GB hard drive instead of the 320GB, and Intel HD Graphics 3000 reports ZDNet.

The more powerful 13in model comes equipped with a 2.8GHz Core i7 processor that provides 'Turbo Boost' capabilities up to 3.5GHz, and AMD's latest Radeon GPU. The 15in and 17in variants of the MacBook Pro are supplied with 2.2 or 2.4GHz quad-core Core i7 processors, and discrete AMD Radeon graphics.

Upgrade options available for all the MacBook Pros that would enable users to upgrade RAM to 8GB for £160, and to replace existing drives with Solid State Drives (SSDs) of up to 512GB for a massive £960. 15in models come with the option of upgrading to hi-res, anti-glare displays with a resolution of 1,680x1,050 for £120.

All models can be viewed at Apple's UK web store.

No big surprises, then - but Apple is clearly feeling the pinch of competition, avoiding a price increase in an attempt to ensure that the current MacBook Pro range remains competitive until the big refresh expected early next year, when Intel comes up with its new Ivy Bridge processor line-up.