Smaller Apple resellers may be left with no iMacs to sell for two months in the wake of an Apple admission that its next release of the popular line has been delayed until September.
Apple recently posted a note on its US website advising that the new iMac would now not be available until September.
'Apple has stopped taking orders for the current iMac as we begin the transition from the current iMac line to an all-new iMac line,' the note said.
'We planned to have our next generation iMac ready by the time the inventory of current iMacs runs out in the next few weeks, but our planning was obviously less than perfect. We apologise for any inconvenience to our customers.'
Adam Steinhardt, MD at South Australian Apple reseller Next Byte, said that small resellers, with less stock on the shelves to play with, might stand to lose most.
'We have 14 distribution points that have lots, so we will probably be able to manage our stock and get through. We have a lot of stock,' he added.
That said, a delay was never good and the reason the iMac line was being refreshed –- although it was still selling well -- was that other Macs were more popular. PowerBooks, eMacs and G5s were all selling very well, Steinhardt said.
Customers that had already made up their minds to buy an iMac could usually be convinced to buy a different version of the model. Next Byte had a range of iMacs in stock, such as 15-inch super drive and 17 inch super drive, Steinhardt said.
Adam Connor, director at NSW-based Apple reseller Total Recall Solutions, said the delay would be bad news for many resellers. iMacs, particularly the latest 'lampshade' version, had proved popular with consumer buyers, he said.
'We were expecting [Apple] to launch a new range and, prices to follow, in line with a better exchange rate,' he said.
Sales of the current iMacs had already slowed, which meant Total Recall was having to try and sell eMacs in their place, he said.
'To put it bluntly, I hate selling eMacs. They're bulky and heavy, and you can't make much out of them,' Connor said.
Laptops had been going well as businesses bought up for the end of the financial year, he said, implying that resellers would be looking for a new range to boost the quieter beginning of the 2004-05 fiscal period.
Connor said it had been rumoured that Apple had struck design problems with the latest iMacs. It was unusual for Apple to announce such delays publicly.
'But they've 'fessed up to it this time and that will hopefully gain them a little bit of kudos,' he said.
X-serve G5s had recently been delayed, but in that case it sounded as if Apple had been let down by its suppliers, Connor said.
That said, he had a lot of respect for the company. 'Apple's a company that's been pushing pretty hard on all fronts,' Connor said.
Apple Australia was contacted for comment but had not replied by press time.