At long last, Apple's new 17 inch PowerBook G4s appear to be en route to some customers and Apple resellers alike, if the e-mails MacCentral readers are receiving are any indication. Both resellers and customers who ordered their PowerBooks directly from Apple have forwarded MacCentral copies of e-mails confirming that their PowerBooks are on the way.

The 17 inch PowerBook G4 was introduced at Macworld Conference & Expo this past January alongside its diminutive 12 inch counterpart. While the 12 inch PowerBook G4 is already shipping, the 17 inch model has so far been MIA. Some resellers have seen pre-production models, but that's been about it.

Apple's PowerBook G4 is the biggest PowerBook yet, and it's the first laptop computer on the market with a 17 inch LCD display built-in. The display sports a native resolution of 1,440 by 900 pixels. The PowerBook also features a backlit keyboard with laser-etched keys, and integrates sensors that will adjust the brightness of the screen and the illumination of the keyboard based on the ambient light. It measures about 15.4 inches wide, about 10.2 inches deep, and about 1.0 inch tall. It weighs 6.8 pounds and is constructed of aluminum alloy.

Clocking in at 1GHz, the 17 inch PowerBook G4 comes equipped with 256K of backside Level 2 Cache and 1MB of L3 cache. It comes equipped with 512MB of DDR SDRAM, as well. The 17 and 12 inch PowerBook G4s are also the first PowerBooks to ship with Nvidia GeForce 4 Go graphics chips on board. The 17 inch PowerBook sports the 440 chip, specifically.

The 17 inch PowerBook G4 features AirPort Extreme support -- wireless networking based on the IEEE 802.11g draft specification, capable of transmitting data at up to 54Mbps. What's more, the jumbo-sized PowerBook G4 sports integrated FireWire 800 -- based on the IEEE 1394b specification -- which works twice as fast as the conventional FireWire interface still found on many Macs. Both faster data standards are downwardly compatible with the versions found on older Macs, too.

Apple resellers and customers who have been contacted by e-mail thus far have been told that the PowerBooks G4s they've ordered should arrive sometime next week.