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Apple pushes MacBook Pro ship dates back to March

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Exclusive Apple's decision to ship faster processors with its first MacBook Pro models will certainly please its customers, but the move may mean many of them don't get their machines quite as quickly as they might have hoped. After announcing yesterday that it will this week begin shipping the new Intel-based notebooks, Apple quietly nudged back the new-purchase delivery estimates to March.

The Core Duo-based MacBook Pros debuted in January. At the time, Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised the laptops would leave the company's assembly plants in February. Apple's online stores in the UK and the US immediately offered the machines on a pre-order basis and said the computers would ship in "February", as Jobs had pledged.

Today, both sites say newly ordered MacBook Pros will ship in "three to four weeks", taking delivery into March.

Apple may very well begin shipping MacBook Pros to some early adopters this week - it may have even started to do so already - but a number of Reg Hardware readers who ordered their Intel-based notebooks ahead of yesterday's announcement have claimed to have received revised delivery estimates that likewise stretch out to March.

"The estimated shipping date for my order jumped late last night from Feb 15 to March 15! Apple ends up smelling of roses, getting loads of free publicity for giving out upgrades - I end up having to wait nearly two months for my laptop," wrote one.

"When I ordered my MacBook Pro I was told I would be one of the first to get one," wrote another. "The shipping date was listed as today [February 15] with delivery by the Feb 22. Yesterday I phoned up and was told that I would be getting a faster machine - no mention of shipping dates changing. Today I looked on the Apple website to discover that my machine will now be shipped on March 15 and delivered by March 27 (a whole 12 days!)."

We asked Apple to comment, but it has yet to respond to our calls and emails. At this stage, then, it's unclear whether demand has proved too strong for Apple, or it has pushed back delivery estimates for other reasons. What we can say is that we wouldn't expect a product shipping in volume. Order a new iMac today, for example, and it will ship in 24 hours, Apple's websites promise. Of course, Apple didn't say explicitly that the MacBook Pro would ship in volume this month, but that's certainly what many buyers would have assumed from the company's statements to date.

Did you get your MacBook Pro order in early to "avoid the rush", as Steve Jobs suggested in January? If you did and you too have been told you'll have to wait longer for your new computer - or that its arrival is imminent - let us know. ®

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