New iMacs delayed until September

New iMacs delayed until September

Apple Computer will run out of iMac computers before a new model is introduced in September, the company said Thursday.

Apple has stopped taking orders for the current iMac, the company 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," the company said in a statement posted at its online store.

The announcement is an acknowledgement that Apple missed its deadline for delivering a new iMac, said Michelle Gutierrez, a principal at Schwab Soundview Capital Markets.

"It was generally believed that Apple would come out with a new iMac at the WWDC," she said, referring to the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference this week in the US.

Apple introduced the current line of flat-panel iMacs in January 2002. The computers have been described as looking more like a desktop lamp than a desktop computer.

A refresh is overdue, according to Gutierrez. "Every 18 to 24 months seems to be regular time frame," she said.

The delay means Apple will have to go about a month without iMac sales. As a result, quarterly sales could be between 2 percent and 3 percent lower, Gutierrez estimated. The iMac accounts for about 8 percent of Apple's total quarterly sales, she said.

While the delay will hurt Apple's sales, computer buyers should be happy, Gutierrez said. She suspects Apple pushed back the new iMac because of quality control reasons.

"Apple is always very particular about its supply and will basically sacrifice everything for quality. They sacrifice business execution for keeping the integrity of their product," she said. "It is a double-edged sword, for the financial community it is a bad thing, for the consumer it is a watchdog for a very high quality product."

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on any financial consequences the delay may cause.

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