Apple reseller Next Byte has taken top honours at the vendor's annual channel conference, winning the coveted Reseller of the Year award.
"We won three awards, but we are particularly pleased with this one because it is the first time Apple has announced one dealer as being the best in the country," said Next Byte co-director Adam Steinhardt.
The company was also presented with a Sales Excellence award and was one of only two dealers to be recognised for sales of AppleCare Protection plans.
"We have had a good run since Buzzle," Steinhardt said. "In the last six months we have put on four stores, and of course Apple's product line has certainly helped that along."
Next Byte has also recently opened stores in the central business districts of Sydney and Adelaide. But the beginning of 2002 did not look so positive. Unprepared for the demand for its new iMacs, Apple experienced worldwide product shortages that left resellers crying out for stock.
"It was a difficult year initially because stock was limited, but this business is always changing and you have to think quickly on your feet. We have got plenty of stock now - even of the pre-price rise iMacs - and it has put us in good stead."
Steinhardt said the overall tone of the Apple reseller conference was positive, particularly in light of the new products Apple is releasing into the market.
"The Internet has really flattened the difference between operating systems and Apple is really ahead in terms of the look and feel of the technology," he said. "Apple continues to buck the trend - it is one of the few IT companies registering genuine growth - so it was a very upbeat conference."
The vendor recently announced the introduction of the Xserve, a 1U rack-mount server designed to work specifically with Apple's Unix-based Mac OS X Server software.
"We are still trying to get our heads around it but it is going to open up some good opportunities as it has a massive storage capacity."