Apple appears to be slowly ramping up production of its new must-have pro-portable, the MacBook Pro.

According to the company's UK store the waiting time before an order ships has shrunk from the 3-4 weeks promised in February to a slightly less painful 1-2 week wait.

Apple's US online customers are promised a 2-3 week wait.

Analysts and customers alike have noticed that MacBook Pros are flying off the shelves, with demand far exceeding supply.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster recommends buying Apple shares, and notes that demand for the new Mac laptop "is clearly not an issue".

Three MacBook Pros are available: a 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo model; a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo model and a build-to-order 2.16GHz model.

Recent checks at the Regent Street Apple Store confirm a large backlog of orders for all configurations of MacBook Pro.

Whether Apple's listed waiting time is correct cannot be guaranteed. Recent reports from within Apple's independent reseller chain claimed just a few hundred units of the new laptop were being distributed here.

In a recent New York Times review, David Pogue noted: "The MacBook Pro is a beautifully engineered machine. If it's not the world's finest, it's darned close. It won't achieve true greatness until the important programs have been rewritten for the Core Duo chip's blazing speed."

Currently, strong rumours suggest Apple will introduce a replacement for its iBook computers in the coming weeks, possibly launching these at an event purportedly being scheduled around Apple's 30th anniversary on April 1.