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Wednesday, November 08, 2006, 03:00 pm PT (06:00 pm ET)

Apple delays shipments of new 17-inch MacBook Pros

Shipments of Apple Computer's new 17-inch MacBook Pro notebooks are off to a rocky start this month, with customers reporting that the company has been unable to make good on delivery times initially quoted with their orders.

The flagship Apple notebooks, along with their 15-inch counterparts, were revamped on Oct. 24 with Intel Corp.'s Core 2 Duo microprocessors, double the memory and greater storage capacity. The 15-inch model was available upon announcement with delivery of the 17-inch notebooks projected for the following week.

In an email to its Apple store online customers this week, Apple said it would be unable to meet the the delivery dates specified alongside orders for the 17-inch models.

"We are unable to ship your 17-inch MacBook Pro by the date given when you placed the order," the company wrote. "It is now expected to ship on or before 11/14/06. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause and we are making every effort to ship this unit as soon as possible."

Apple did not offer customers an explanation for the delay, but informed speculation would point to a component specific to the 17-inch models, such as casing element or the notebook's 17-inch LCD display.

For the most part, Apple has been able churn out the majority of its orders for 15-inch Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro models, which share many of the same components as the 17-inch model. However, there have been some exceptions in international regions.

One Switzerland-based Apple customer told AppleInsider that his 15-inch MacBook Pro order was delayed from Nov. 8 to Nov. 17. Unlike the generic automated responses sent to US Apple store customers, the company cited "unexpected high demand" in the case of that order.

Some 17-inch MacBook Pro customers have been quite vocal in expressing their displeasure with the lack of detail the Cupertino, Calif.-based Mac maker offers when abruptly delaying orders by a week's time or more. Others are just anxious to get acquainted with their new systems.

"I ordered mine online through the Apple store on Oct. 30th. Originally it said it would ship in 7 to 10 days. When I checked the order status this morning is says Nov. 14th," wrote one member of the AppleInsider forums. "I'm going nuts, cause this is my first Mac, and I can't wait to throw my XP machine out the window."

People familiar with Apple's overseas manufacturing operations say the company has yet to deliver a single shipment of the new 17-inch notebooks.