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Apple says 17-inch MacBook Pros will see further delays

Apple said Wednesday that it's facing unexpected delays related to its new unibody 17-inch MacBook Pros and won't be capable of shipping orders for at least another two weeks.

"Wrapping up the new 17-inch MacBook Pro is taking a few days longer than we projected," the company said in an email sent to thousands of customers this afternoon. "As a result, we will be unable to ship your 17-inch MacBook Pro until February 19, 2009."

Despite reports last week to the contrary, Apple hasn't shipped a single 17-inch MacBook Pro. Even customers who purchased immediately following the notebook's announcement last month are still waiting on their orders.

"I pre-ordered the new Macbook Pro 17" just before 3PM EST on January 6th, the day it was announced at MacWorld '09," said one customer. "Upon placing my order the ship date was set for February 4th with a receive date of February 9th [...] I went to check the status of my order only to find that the shipping date has been pushed out to February 19th, with no estimated receive date."

Apple isn't providing customers with an explanation for the delay, but is offering them the option of canceling their orders for a prompt refund by calling 800-676-2775 or by visiting its online order status website.

"If we do not hear from you before we ship the 17-inch MacBook Pro to you, we will assume that you have agreed to this shipment delay," the company added in its email blast. "In that event, a shipment notification with tracking information will be emailed to you as soon as your order is shipped."

Although the Mac maker briefly changed lead times on its online store last week to reflect availability of the high-end notebook in 7-10 business days, it pushed those lead times back out to 3-4 weeks about an hour before it began informing customers of the latest round of delays.

Two weeks ago, AppleInsider reported that Apple was expected to push delivery of the new 17-inch MacBook Pro out towards March. The Cupertino-based company initially promised that orders would begin shipping in late January.

Update: Apple has told at least one customer that it is waiting on certain components specific to the 17-inch MacBook Pro from its supply chain before it can begin shipping the notebooks.

For those waiting anyway, MacMall is offering AppleInsider readers an additional 3% off all MacBook Pros through Feb 28th, which brings the net cost of the $2799 system down to $2,610.18 after a mail-in-rebate (details).