Apple ships faster than expected MacBook Pro

Apple on Tuesday shipped its recently introduced Intel-based MacBook Pro, surprising customers with processors speeds that are faster than previously announced. The new laptops are available beginning this week with speeds up to 2.16GHz.

“We are shipping the fastest available microprocessor available in the Intel Core Duo family that they can produce,” Dave Russell, Apple’s Senior Director of Portables and Wireless, told Macworld.

Customers that ordered an MacBook Pro when they were first introduced at the slower speeds will be given the opportunity to change their orders.

“Those people will be notified that their product is going to ship and they will be given the opportunity to change their order to a slightly different configuration—either up or down—if they like. The can also add other options—we are going to be completely fair to them,” said Russell.

The high-end notebook now includes a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up from the previously announced 1.83GHz, and will begin shipping this week. The $1,999 model now includes a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up from the previously announced 1.67GHz, and will begin shipping next week.

In addition, customers may now upgrade to a 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo processor as a build-to-order option on the Apple Online Store.

“What’s not to like? For $1999 you are going to get the processor speed you thought you had to spend $2499 to get,” said Russell.

The MacBook Pro will come with a a built-in iSight video camera and include Mac OS X Tiger and iLife ‘06.

In addition to being able to upgrade the processor as a build-to-order option, customers can also upgrade to several other components including 120GB (5400 rpm) or 100GB (7200 rpm) hard drive, up to 2GB DDR2 SDRAM, Apple USB Modem, and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

Overall, Apple is pleased with the way the Intel transition is going. While it is still early, most major companies have pledged support for the new Intel processors and some 700 Universal Binaries are already available for download.

“We are very happy with the way things are going,” said Apple Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, David Moody. “Our customers are extremely happy with the new iMac and we’re sure they’ll like the MacBook Pro. As we announced at Macworld in January, this transition is going to happen over the course of this calendar year, so things are definitely still in process. We’re happy that developers have come along with a large number of great applications and there are more coming out everyday.”

Update: Added more information about the shipping MacBook Pro. 2/14/06 8:55 am

2/14/06 11:30 am—added information from interview with Apple executives.

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