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Apple delays entry MacBook Air untill after Thanksgiving

Apple is apologizing to customers this week who had placed orders for its new entry-level NVIDIA-based MacBook Airs, explaining that due to an unforeseen issue, it's unlikely to deliver those systems until shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday.

"Due to an unexpected delay, we are unable to ship your MacBook Air by the date

originally quoted to you," the company said in an email to several online store customers who were previously quoted ship times of November 5th and a delivery estimate of November 10th. "We now anticipate shipping the item by 11/24/08 and delivering by 11/29/08."

Apple apologized for the inconvenience and said customers may change or cancel their order anytime time before it's shipped.

The delay only appears to be affecting the entry-level 1.6GHz model with a 120GB SATA hard drive. The company has been actively shipping the 1.86GHz model with 128GB solid-state drive since late last month, will several customer orders arriving about a week earlier than anticipate.

A quick investigation into the matter reveals the hold-up is a direct result of either component or supply chain issues surrounding the 1.6GHz model's standard 120GB SATA hard drive.

The Apple Online Store is reflecting lead times of only 3 - 5 days for the 1.86GHz model with its built-in solid state drive, but 2 - 3 weeks for the 1.6GHz Air with standard hard disk drive. However, selecting a 1.6GHz model and choosing the$500.00 upgrade to a 128GB Solid State Drive drops the lead time from 2 - 3 weeks to 3 - 5 days, essentially isolating hard drive as the source of the delay.

Unfortunately, the MacBook Air isn't the only Apple notebook whose shipments are being delayed due to hard drive components. AppleInsider readers note that the $50 option to upgrade the new MacBook Pro's hard drive to a 320GB Serial ATA @ 7200 increases lead times from 1 - 3 days to 5 to 7 days.