One of the improvements in the new MacBook Pro line is support for video and audio out through the Mini DisplayPort. This marks the first time that an Apple computer can use Apple's miniaturized DisplayPort interface for audio. Also, a note on the specs page for the updated MacBook Pro hints at a future Apple MiniDisplay Port to HDMI adapter; currently, support for HD video and audio is only possible through a third-party adapter.
Apple first developed the Mini DisplayPort in 2008 to replace its proprietary Mini-DVI interface. Capable of supporting up to 2560x1600, the interface is based on the DisplayPort standard, and Apple made it freely licensable in 2009. The Apple 24-inch Cinema Display as well as some Toshiba laptops also use the interface. Though the Mini DisplayPort has always potentially been able to support audio - as the underlying DisplayPort standard does - no computers have incorporated an audio signal on the 20-pin interface until now. The implementation supports the DisplayPort standard controls for digital rights management, which could potentially introduce problems if a Mini Display Port is used to connect a MacBook Pro to an external device (such as an HDTV) that isn't properly licensed.
Though the Mini Display Port can carry HD-quality video, support for audio up until now has required an adapter that combines Mini DisplayPort video with different ports, such as USB for audio or USB for plus the audio line-out connector for audio. However, the Tech Specs page for the MacBook Pro does mention an optional Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, raising the possibility that a simpler solution may be on the horizon.