After a month delay, the good dudes over at iFixIt.com got their hands on the new MacBook Pro 17-inch and promptly disassembled it.
Some things they learned:
Even after paying Apple $2799, this computer STILL doesn't come with a Mini DisplayPort adapter.
There are three tri-wing screws holding the battery to the Unibody case. Apple did this to intimidate people out of swapping the battery, but a small flathead screwdriver works fine to remove the screws.
You can replace the battery by removing 13 screws and a replaceable sticker.
The battery is HUGE. It weighs 20.1 ounces (1.25 pounds). That's 20% of the computer's weight!
The Bluetooth board is much easier to access and repair than it is in the MacBook Pro 15" Unibody, where it is tucked away inside the display assembly.
As expected, the 17" design and internal layout is very similar to the MacBook Pro 15". Most of the extra space is occupied by the battery. The Unibody case does make the computer feel much more solid than its predecessor, which had a lot more torsional flex. This is a very solid computer.