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Wednesday, February 08, 2006, 10:20 am PT (01:20 pm ET)

Briefly: MacBook Pro, Mac OS X 10.4.5, WINE

Apple updates MacBook Pro lead times

It appears that Apple will soon begin shipping its first batch of MacBook Pro professional laptops, which, according to estimates provided to customers, should start arriving in the US within the next two weeks.

Overnight, the Mac maker quietly updated lead times on its online store for the MacBook Pro from shipping in "February" to "3-4 weeks." This suggests that Apple is unlikely to meet overall world-wide demand for the laptops within its current quarter, as stated by company executives last month. However, it also implies that that Apple has aligned demand and is currently confident that it can begin shipping new MacBook Pro orders placed today by this time next month.

It was reported last month that Apple is witnessing stellar sales of the MacBook Pro through pre-orders placed through its direct sales business and authorized resellers.

New builds of Mac OS X 10.4.5

According to tipsters and reports already present on the Internet, Apple this week seeded the fourth external build of Mac OS X 10.4.5 for PowerPC Macs. The build, reportedly labeled Mac OS X 10.4.5 8H14, is said to address issues with multi-application audio support. In the distribution of the operating system update offered to Apple Developer Connection members, Apple did not list any known issues.

Apple's precise release plans for Mac OS X 10.4.5 are currently unknown. It's also unclear if the Intel-native version of the update will be the first to package support for the company's forthcoming 13-inch widescreen iBook laptops and updated Mac mini desktops. Both are reportedly slated for a release this spring.

WINE for Intel Macs

MacRumors notes that the X86Project is claiming to have the first version of WINE for Intel Macs complied and running.

The Darwine Project has reportedly been working to port WINE — a compatibility layer that has allowed x86-based PCs to run Windows applications under Unix/Linux operating systems — to run on Mac OS X for Intel.

Though compatibility remains limited in these early stages, the software could offer Mac users an alternative to running Windows applications on Intel Macs sometime in the future.

This could be of interest to some users, as sources have told AppleInsider that Apple and Microsoft are in a disagreement about the way Virtual PC should be supported on Intel Macs. Progress on the next version of the Windows emulation environment is said to be moving slowly, with an official release unlikely "for some time."