17-inch MacBook Pro Will Be Late, Not Absent

Many noticed (and lamented) the lack of a 17-inch version of the updated MacBook Pro at yesterday’s notebook event. For those interested in Apple’s Pro line of laptops, screen real estate is a valuable commodity indeed. Designers need the space for working on large documents and layouts, and creative professionals need to be able to convey to potential and actual clients the true scope and quality of their work easily on the spot. Depending on your work product, both of these needs are hard to meet on 15 inches.

Which is why it’s good news that AppleInsider is reporting this morning that the 17-inch version of the aluminum-glass MacBook Pro is not, as some speculated, going the way of the dodo. Rumors of optical drive and display issues on the bigger MBP delaying shipment appear to be correct, and will delay its arrival until after the holiday season. Meanwhile, Apple is offering improved specs on the existing 17-inch MBP. A high-resolution 1920×1200 display, 4GB of memory, and a 320GB hard drive now come standard, with the option available to switch in a 128GB SSD.

It should be noted that the original 17-inch MacBook Pro was also delayed when the high-end laptop was initially introduced in January of 2006.  Still, Apple is staying mum on the subject of new larger Pros, in what could be interpreted as an attempt to clear existing inventory. Many retailers delay bringing new stock to floor upon initial release, hoping to catch consumers unaware of recent model changes. Best Buy is notorious for this kind of sales tactic, and often won’t display new models of some stock until many months after its introduction, depending on store location and stock levels. It would be a shrewd move on Apple’s part to leak vague claims of technical issues preventing the release, and sell off remaining inventory in the mean time, especially to corporate buyers who need the machines now and aren’t willing to wait a couple of months to make purchases.

Still, the high resolution display and bigger hard drive amount to an $150 discount in the price of the 17-inch MBP, so it’s not a bad deal if you’re in urgent need.

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