Apple has released the long-awaited 17-inch MacBook Pro.

The company's new portable costs £1,999 (including VAT) and ships with a 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo processor. The company says the new product will begin to ship "next week".

Slimline power tool

The new Mac is just one inch thin and weighs 6.8 pounds. Like the rest of the range, the product features a built-in iSight camera, uses the new MagSafe power adaptor and ships with a remote control and Front Row software. It also includes Apple's PhotoBooth software.

"The 17-inch MacBook Pro delivers the speed and screen area of a professional desktop system in the world's best notebook design," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "With Intel's state of the art dual-core processor, the new 17-inch MacBook Pro delivers unrivaled performance in an innovative, sleek, one-inch thin design."

Apple's big-screen speed demon

Apple claims its new 17-inch MacBook Pro is up to five times faster than the 17-inch PowerBook G4. The system architecture includes a 667MHz front-side bus (four times faster than that inside the PowerBook G4) and 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory expandable to 2GB.

The MagSafe Power Adapter safely disconnects from the notebook when the power cord is strained, preventing the notebook from falling off its work surface. Every MacBook Pro also includes Apple's Sudden Motion Sensor which protects the hard drive in case of a fall.

The new 17-inch MacBook Pro includes a very bright display to make reading text and viewing images even easier and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 PCI Express graphics with 256MB of dedicated GDDR3 graphics memory for demanding professional applications, and a Scrolling TrackPad to easily scroll through long web pages or pan across large photographs.

Connectivity includes a FireWire 800 port, a FireWire 400 port, three USB 2.0 ports, optical and digital audio input and output, built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), and integrated AirPort Extreme 54Mbps 802.11g WiFi wireless networking.

Tiger-powered Mac means business

The computer ships with Mac OS X Tiger and iLife 06: iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand and iWeb, all of which run natively on Intel Macs. An updated list of Universal applications (which run on both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs) is available online.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro features include:

17-inch widescreen 1,680-x-1,050 LCD display with 300 cd/m2 brightness;
2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo processor;
1GB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2GB;
120GB 5,400rpm Serial ATA hard drive with Sudden Motion Sensor;
A slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
PCI Express-based ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB GDDR3 memory;
DVI-out port for external display (VGA-out adapter included, Composite/S-Video out adapter sold separately);
Built-in Dual Link support for driving Apple 30-inch Cinema HD Display;
Gigabit Ethernet port;
One audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analogue;
Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard with ambient light sensor;

Additional build-to-order options for the 17-inch MacBook Pro include 100GB (7,200rpm) hard drive, up to 2GB DDR2 SDRAM, an Apple USB Modem, and the AppleCare Protection Plan.