Apple's Worldwide Developer conference kicks-off next week in San Francisco. Refreshed MacBook Pro laptops will likely dominate the headlines.

Next week, Apple is expected to announce a series of product updates at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The biggest news (barring a surprise launch of a 7-inch iPad Mini) will likely surround the updated MacBook Pro which will receive a major refresh.

With new Intel ultrabooks — which feature thin and lightweight designs — hitting the market at increasingly lower price points, many expect Apple to respond by adopting the popular, svelte Air-like design for the majority of the new models.

So what do we know so far about the new MacBook Pro?

Intel Ivy Bridge – this one is a slam dunk. Intel’s new processors (sucessors to the popular Sandy Bridge range) will likely ship in a variety of speeds across the entire line-up.

USB 3.0 – Steve Jobs never liked it, but it’s taken off.

No optical drive – those that want to play their 80s vinyl–er, I mean CD–will need to connect an external. The upside: less weight, less noise (so long odd, cranky start-up noise), less power draw.

16GB RAM – some are reporting the 2012 MBP will ship with a full 16GB of RAM standard. Based on Apple’s playbook, that seems high, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

OS X Mountain Lion – more chat, social.

AMD Radeon HD 7770M graphics processor.

An HD FaceTime camera.

Thunderbolt, Firewire, Ethernet ports (why oh why do we still need ethernet?!).

Bluetooth 4.0.

Regarding the screen and resolution, there have been numerous rumors floating around. At least one suggests that the 2012 MBP could see a special Retina display with 2560 x 1600. Though 9to5Mac says that’s unlikely.

In addition to the MacBook Pro laptop refresh, Apple is expected to introduce a new entry level model (“entry level” is all relative when it comes to Apple pricing), iCloud enhancements, and iOS 6 (without Google Maps). At this point, only CEO Tim Cook knows if there will be a  “one more thing” surprise.

Clinton Stark
Clinton shoots videos for Stark Insider. San Francisco Bay Area arts, Ingmar Bergman and French New Wave, and chasing the perfect home espresso shot 25 seconds at a time (and failing). Peloton: ClintTheMint. Camera: Video Gear