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Apple pushing 17-inch MacBook Pro deliveries near March

Initially promised for the end of January, the unibody version of Apple's largest notebook is moving gradually towards a late February ship date or later for more recent buyers.

Readers tell AppleInsider that their orders for the redesigned 17-inch MacBook Pro, still officially listed as shipping within 2-3 weeks for prospective owners, are now creeping towards arrival dates four or more weeks after the purchase.

In one example, a customer who just ordered his only slightly customized system on Wednesday now says his model won't leave assembly plants in China until February 26th, or nearly five weeks from when he pulled the trigger. The system isn't due to arrive until early March, or roughly two months after it was first announced at Macworld.

Australian readers are also receiving ship date estimates between three to four weeks after they place their orders for stock versions, while choosing the anti-glare display immediately pushes any shipment to between four to six weeks later.

Why the delays are slipping into Apple's system are unclear and may not be absolute. Readers are encouraged to submit reports of any delays for their own orders.

A reader's delayed order for a 17-inch MacBook Pro

Separately, others also report their copies of the Mac Box Set bundle for Mac OS X Leopard, iLife and iWork are slipping to a lesser degree. Apple maintains a January estimate even now but has started bumping orders to early February.

In return, one reader notes that his order was upgraded to overnight shipping for free without notice from Apple.