It's interesting to gauge the real product from the rumors that were flying around in the last 72 hours. Here's what did and didn't happen:
Thunderbolt: Yep, we got that. 10 Gbps throughput (bi-directional!). Pretty cool. It also can provide 10 watts of power to the bus which is enough to charge an iPad...stay tuned on that one.
Sandy Bridge: Yes, we got that too. Big surprise....no Core i3 anywhere in the lineup. Apple remembered that the word "Pro" is in the name so they ditched the low-end Core i3 and started with Core i5 dual-cores and made Core i7 quads available on the 15" and standard on the 17". Benchmarks should fly but battery life is a bit down across the board (still 7 hours)
AMD Graphics: Yep, that happened. The 6750 is a respectable gaming chip with a gig of its own RAM, available on the 15" and standard on the 17". The 13" will have to live with standard Intel graphics, although much better than before.
Displays: They are all the same but you can get matte screens across the line, even in the 13" which I think is new. Professionals will love that.
What didn't happen:
Redesign of the unibody case: Apple had hinted that the MBAir design was going to be the future of the Macbook but the future now looks like 2012. Given the life cycle of Apple laptop bodies, it's not surprising that they are waiting another cycle. Unlike the iPad, the MacBook Pro line have few real competitors lining up.
Elimination of the DVD drive: This is linked to the redesign of the case. Some rumor talked about the option of eliminating the drive in this design in favor of a SSD drive for a dual drive configuration but this isn't Apple's style and would create another body SKU which can drive up overall costs. And if Apple is going to eliminate optical drives in a year, it makes no sense to do Blu-Ray now, especially since it would require OS-level DRM (by license) which Apple has already resisted.
Boot drive SSD: I'm not sure where this got started but I think it was either wishful thinking on someone's part or maybe this will be in next year's MacBook chassis redesign.
Bigger trackpad: Seems like it's the same one as before, which wasn't small.
USB 3.0/Firewire 1600: Apple has clearly decided to go with the technology that has the most upside performance potential for the next decade. Firewire, which Apple developed and dates back to the early 90s, never got wide adoption in the broader PC market. There is little advantage to updating the technology now when it wasn't going to even be faster than USB 3.0 (1.6 Gpbs & 3.2 Gpbs had been reported to be in development). Meanwhile, Apple wasn't going to stomp on the Thunderbolt message by upping USB to 3.0 at the same time. This has happened before. When USB 2.0 debuted in 2001, Apple waited until 2003 before going with it since Firewire 400 was still being actively promoted. And when they did go with it, FW800 also debuted at the same time. USB 3.0 may still happen on Macs but not until Thunderbolt gets broad industry traction.
All in all, a nice upgrade but a little disappointing to those who wanted a slimmer body with no optical drive. But the extra power in Sandy Bridge/Core i5-i7 will make up for it.