Apple UK has begun shipping 17-inch PowerBooks to customers who pre-ordered the product.

However, the company's Web site still warns of a three to five week wait until products are shipped.

The move to deliver product follows Apple UK's launch of a wave of TV, billboard and magazine advertising to support the release of its 12-inch and 17-inch PowerBooks.

The 12-inch PowerBook is available now, while the 17-inch model was scheduled for release in February. Sources told Macworld the delay was caused by unexpected production difficulties.

Reports that the product is shipping now confirm the company has been mounting a major effort to get its new product out there. Earlier reports suggested Apple would be unable to deliver the product until March 24.