The refresh, which is due to be announced later today, will see the debut of Intel's high-speed interconnect. (The update has now been confirmed: see the full details here.)
Originally designed as an optical interconnect, Intel has downgraded Light Peak to copper in order to save costs. However, it's still expected to be much faster than USB 3 or FireWire ports. It will be used to connect devices such as external hard disks and displays, which require fast transfer speeds.
Photos of the MacBook packaging leaked to AppleInsider reveal the Thunderbolt branding, while a separate photo suggests the connector is the same size as the current DisplayPort input.
The MacBook Pro range will also offer Sandy Bridge processors for the first time. The specs leaked to AppleInsider show the 13in MacBook Pro will sport a 2.3Ghz Core i5 processor, although Core i3 and i7 variants are expected to be introduced across the range.
Apple will reportedly rely on Sandy Bridge's on-board graphics for the 13in model, while offering discrete AMD graphics chips on the 15in and 17 in models.
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk