Apple has launched a new MacBook Pro laptop range, featuring an instant-on LED display, next generation graphics, and a multi-touch glass trackpad.

CEO Steve Jobs announced the new range at a product launch in California, in which he discussed various improvements in design which he claimed would help give the company the edge over competitors in the laptop market.

The improved graphics comes by way of a GeForce 9400M GT, a new Nvidia product which combines the chipset and an extremely powerful embedded graphics processor, all in one part. Originally designed for a desktop PC, the GeForce 9400M includes 32 parallel graphics cores, and they deliver 125 gigaflops of graphics performance.

At 0.95in, the new laptop is Apple's thinnest-ever MacBook Pro. It will be available in two models; the First one (which will cost $1999 in the US) features a 15.4in LED-backlit display, a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo/3MB L2 chip, a 250GB hard drive and 2GB 1066Ghz DDR 3 memory.

The $2,499 MacBook Pro features a 2.53GHz processor, 6MB L2, 4GB of memory, 512MB on the Nvidia 9600M GT, and a 320GB hard drive. Both incorporate elements of the MacBook Air's components to aid the thin design, Apple said, and will hit US stores tomorrow. UK pricing and availability was not immediately available.

Cheap MacBook announced, but Jobs disappoints netbook fans

"We've got a new trackpad for notebooks," added Jobs, discussing additional features of the new MacBook Pro. "It's a gorgeous, large, multitouch glass trackpad for notebooks. It's 39 percent larger tracking area than before, it's multi-touch for gestures. The entire trackpad is the button.... and we've added some new four-finger gestures that are really nice."

Apple's chief operating officer Tim Cook, who joined Jobs on stage, said the company set a new record in the last financial quarter, shipping 2.5 million Macs in total. "This didn't just start in the last quarter. Several quarters in a row, we've been growing 2-3 times the market growth," he said. The Apple COO cited the iMac and the MacBook Air as examples of how Apple's growth has been based on producing "better computers" which are "far superior" to other models on the market.

The Mac platform has also been boosted by the frosty reception to Microsoft's latest OS, Windows Vista, according to Cook. "I think it's fair to say that Vista hasn't lived up to everything that Microsoft hoped it would. And consequently, it's opened doors for a lot of people to consider switching to the Mac. And this has given us an opportunity and Apple has been the beneficiary of this."

Apple has, of course, attempted to make the most of Microsoft's misfortunes. The company's 'Mac-PC' adverts struck a chord with so many switchers, Cook claimed. "They tell a story, and people listen."

He said 50 percent of the Macs sold in Apple's retail outlets worldwide are bought by people who are new to the Mac platform.

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