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New MacBook Pro part numbers surface in inventory systems [u]

The seemingly endless wait for a new line of professional notebooks from Mac maker Apple Inc. appears to be nearing an end, with part numbers and pricing for new MacBook Pro models cropping up in inventory systems worldwide over the weekend.

AppleInsider has been able to confirm that three new Apple-formatted part numbers — MB402LL/A (Good), MB403LL/A (Better), and MB404LL/A (Best) — have turned up in inventory management systems of both Apple and its channel resellers such as Best Buy.

The part numbers, listed for future MacBook Pros models, were included alongside pricing that matches Apple's current offerings at $1999.00, $2499.00 and $2799.00, respectively, for those part numbers.

Though originally targeted for an introduction during last month's Macworld Expo, the new MacBook Pros saw their release pushed out by approximately 4 weeks as the conference approached.

In addition to Intel's latest Core 2 Duo Penryn mobile processors scaling up to 2.6GHz, the new Apple professional notebooks are also expected to gain an advanced multi-touch trackpad akin to the one which recently made its debut on the MacBook Air.

As such, the new notebooks will also likely include the same Broadcom touch controller chip found in both the MacBook Air and the company's iPhone and iPod touch handhelds, offering the potential for expanded multi-touch capabilities and gestures some time down the line as part of a future software update.

At least one of the inventory systems reflecting the new MacBook Pro part numbers indicates that stock of those models should be on hand by Friday, February 29th, suggesting a formal announcement could come as early as Tuesday. Sources, however, warned that product availability sometimes takes as long as two weeks from when part numbers first turn up in their systems.

In addition to MacBook Pros, Apple this week is also expected to begin shipping the first of its Time Capsule backup appliances (AppleInsider's first look). Available in a 500GB model for $299 and 1TB model for $499, the AirPort Extreme-like device will automatically conduct wireless backups of Macs running the Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system.

Update: For the sake of completeness, one source claims the aforementioned part numbers may actually coincide with some form of unexpected update to Apple's 13-inch MacBook line rather than its 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros. Updates will follow if and when any additional information becomes available.