Apple will begin shipping its new 15-inch MacBook Pro notebooks this week - and they are equipped with even faster processors than originally promised.

The top-end model now includes a 2GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up from the previously announced 1.83GHz, and will begin shipping this week.

The entry-level model now includes a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, up from the previously announced 1.67GHz, and begins shipping next week.

Customers can also upgrade to a 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo processor as a build-to-order option on the Apple Online Store.

Apple defies speculation

Apple's news firmly stamps out recent rumours that MacBook Pro shipments would be delayed. These rumours emerged when Apple changed the shipping date for the products on its store to "three-to-four weeks" last week.

"We are incredibly excited to start shipping the MacBook Pro, a groundbreaking new notebook with dual-processor desktop performance in a thin, sleek design," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.

"The new MacBook Pro includes even faster Intel Core Duo processors than originally announced, up to 2.16 GHz, and we think customers are going to love them," he added.

The first Mac notebook to use Intel's new Core Duo processor, the one-inch thick aluminium MacBook Pro weighs just 5.6 pounds. It has a built-in iSight camera, ships with an Apple Remote and Front Row software and uses the new patent-pending MagSafe magnetic power connector.

The notebooks ship with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and iLife '06.

1.83 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro

This model costs £1,429 (including VAT). It offers:

15.4-inch widescreen 1,440-x-900 LCD display with 300 cd/m2 brightness;
1.83GHz Intel Core Duo processor;
512MB of 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2GB;
5,400rpm 80GB Serial ATA hard drive (with Sudden Motion Sensor);
A slot-load SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
PCI Express-based ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 128MB 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;
Built-in iSight video camera;
Gigabit Ethernet port;
Built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
Two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire® 400 port;
One audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analogue;
Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;

2.0GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro

This model costs £1,779 (including VAT). It includes:

15.4-inch widescreen 1440-x-900 LCD display with 300 cd/m2 brightness;
2.0GHz Intel Core Duo processor;
1GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 2GB;
100GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
A slot-load SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
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;
Built-in iSight video camera;
Gigabit Ethernet port;
Built-in Airport Extreme wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR;
ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
Two USB 2.0 ports and one FireWire 400 port;
One audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analogue;
Scrolling TrackPad and illuminated keyboard;

Additional build-to-order options for the 15-inch MacBook Pro include the ability to upgrade to a 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo processor; to add a 120GB (5,400 rpm) or 100GB (7,200 rpm) hard drive, pre-install up to 2GB DDR2 SDRAM, an Apple USB Modem, and the AppleCare Protection Plan.