Key resellers in Apple's consumer-oriented channel have expressed optimism at the recent announcement of the iMac computer (see ARN May 13, page 4).
Mark Bender, general manager of Random Access in Melbourne, told ARN the machine is "a funky independent statement", and a welcome departure from Apple's other releases of recent years, which he characterised as "just faster with bigger hard drives".
Importantly, he predicted it would be a winner for education, estimating it would sell for less than $2000 in that market.
Lindsay McComb, manager of Sydney Apple reseller StatusGraph, predicted the balance of price, performance and design would be "good for business", and said "Apple's been doing everything right lately", both in terms of hardware releases and marketing strategies.
There were, however, some reservations. Bender pointed to the iMac's lack of a SCSI port as creating connectivity issues for customers in the transition to USB. He said this would mostly affect Apple's existing customers in the consumer market, since they are more likely to want to keep their existing peripherals such as scanners and external disk drives.
He told ARN "that's only really likely to be a problem if third parties don't develop adapters" for the Intel technology.
StatusGraph's McComb also expressed doubts about Apple's ability to get exposure for the machine in the Wintel-buying public. Apple's retail strategy is almost entirely structured around specialist Apple-only dealers rather than mass-retail outlets such as Harvey Norman. He said "the resellers will do their bit", but the onus is on Apple to "bear the brunt of pushing publicity". Bender agreed with him, saying customers who might be looking at Windows machines are "exactly the customers it's got to get".