New MacBook Pros off to strong start, 13-inch model selling out

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Demand for Apple's newly upgraded line of MacBook Pro notebooks was strong on the first day, with scattered reports of the low-end 13-inch model selling out in some retail locations. Also, Apple has already issued a software update for the 15- and 17-inch models.

Analyst Maynard Um with UBS Investment research said checks with various Apple stores indicated that the Mac maker is sold out of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro model, introduced Tuesday. The Core 2 Duo-equipped machine has the Nvidia GeForce 320M, a graphics processor created especially for Apple's new low-end MacBook Pro machine.

"Apple should benefit from the refresh," Um said of Tuesday's upgrades, " as it positions it for share gains heading into the education spending & back to school season, & we see (continued) Mac momentum as a key driver of upside to (estimates)."

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in two configurations: one with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 250GB hard drive priced at $1,199; and one with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 320GB hard drive priced at $1,499. It has graphics 80 percent faster than its predecessor, and offers an Apple-estimated 10 hours of battery life.

Um said he has also found that some stores are out of stock of iPads, supporting the announcement made earlier Wednesday by Apple, that a hardware shortage would delay the device's international launch until late May. The analyst said this news means it is likely his estimate of 1.2 million iPads sold in the June quarter will likely prove conservative, depending on manufacturing constraints.

"Longer term, we maintain our view that Apple is working on a foundation for a service to provide seamless access/mobility of content across its products," he wrote. "We envision a service that allows access to media-focused content of iTunes, user generated content of MobileMe & social networking integration from any Apple product. We believe this will be the service that will be the draw (halo) that drives additional sales."

Supporting Um's findings of constrained notebook supplies, AppleInsider's checks with authorized resellers has found that while the high-end 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro models are in stock, none have the 13-inch model available, and stock of the low-end 15-inch MacBook Pro is limited. Pricing and availability can be found in the Mac Pricing Guide, included below:

Apple this week already issued the first software update for its just-released mid-2010 MacBook Pro models. The update applies to those who bought the new 15- and 17-inch models, and contains improvements for graphics stability for high-performance video and gaming applications. It also includes various bug fixes, according to Apple. The 258.32MB download, entitled "MacBook Pro Software Update 1.3," is available for download direct from Apple.