Apple competition heating up

Apple competition heating up

The price tag of Apple's hot-to-trot new iMac has increased $200 as component prices for memory and LCD panels escalate. Competition in the Apple market is also heating up, with dealers looking at expansion strategies to make the most of Apple's latest product offerings.

Hot on the heels of Next Byte's move into the Sydney CBD, Apple Centre Taylor Square has announced it will take on the PC-dominated enterprise space. With supply now flowing freely through the Apple channel, Apple Taylor Square's Ben Morgan believes there is a need for high-end solutions in the business market.

"We are undertaking an aggressive search for enterprise clients to drive machines into business," he told ARN. "Everything we do now has to be another reason to provide great customer service. That is how we are going to break into a new market, which is largely PC-based. The Apple has come of age and we now have a product that is well positioned to go into those enterprise business markets."

Apple has been increasing volumes, shipping more than 5000 new iMacs a day in a bid to keep up with worldwide demand. Unfortunately, increasing memory prices and LCD panel shortages mean that as of April 2, prices for the new models will increase by $200. Apple has pledged to honour all existing reseller orders placed on or before April 2 at the original price.

"Stock is now flowing in volume and we have to congratulate Apple on getting it all sorted out," Morgan said. "Sales are the strongest they have been in a long time - I'd watch Apple's market share by the end of this year."

Next Byte's move into the Sydney CBD means at least three high-profile Apple Centres now operate in the city area. The company took over operations from Tyche Digital, which once boasted two city operations. Director George Mekrisis was not available for comment on the move.

Next Byte Sydney director Crawford Giles said its entry would help increase Apple's presence. "I think it will help to grow the market and that will be to the benefit of all the dealers," he said. "It [the CBD] has been on our radar for some time, but we didn't think there was scope for another Apple dealer in that location."

Next Byte will continue to focus on the SOHO, SME and education markets, Giles said.

Meanwhile, Apple Centre Taylor Square is gearing up for its assault on the high end of town. Morgan has dubbed the strategy, "The Enterprise Challenge".

"Under OS X, Apple machines can exist on any network," he declared. "Businesses can now buy quality machines because at the end of the day Apple is the Mercedes Benz of computing."

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