Mac dealers: iBooks in short supply

Resellers say the consumer notebooks have been scarce for weeks, and Apple hasn't committed to a delivery date

Even as Apple finds itself awash in an inventory sea of Power Mac G4 Cubes, dealers in the United States, Canada, and the UK are wondering why they haven't been able to get their hands on 366MHz or 466MHz iBook models for three weeks or more.

A check of seven North American-based dealers located across the United States and Canada show they haven't been able to order either version of Apple's consumer notebook system for a number of weeks. National distributors are telling the dealers it will be at least another seven to ten days before they will have inventory to fulfill back orders.

"I've tried to order from Ingram and Tech Data [distributors of Apple products] as well as directly from Apple and can't find iBooks anywhere," one dealer in Michigan said. "You ask distributors and Apple directly what's going on and they say they don't know what's happening and are hoping for inventory the middle of next week."

A dealer based in Georgia told MacCentral that although distributors are hoping for stock next week, Apple has told them that the target date was "only a guess", and that even when units arrive they will be "in very limited numbers".

One dealer was told, "Get your order in now, because there won't be much to go around."

"It doesn't matter what you want -- Indigo, Graphite, or Key Lime -- you simply can't get them from anywhere," a Colorado reseller said. "I can understand them not being available, but when no one can tell you a firm date on when they might be in and [they] haven't been able to for close to three weeks, then I wonder what's really going on."

Officially, Apple is telling dealers in emails from regional representatives that the iBook supply is "expected to improve in early November" in both Canada and the United States.

Consumers calling to buy iBooks through Apple's online store are being told that a standard, off-the-shelf iBook could be shipped to them within five days.

British dealers have reported a similar situation: no iBooks to be found and very little word on when they might be available.

Dealers queried by MacUser UK magazine report Ingram Micro had no iBooks in stock in any configuration and was not able to quote even an approximate delivery schedule.

Another UK-based Mac distributor, Computer 2000, told one unnamed dealer that they "do not stock the unit anymore. The sales chap thinks this is because the unit has been halted at Apple."

No other dealers or sources have confirmed similar comments in North America, however.

One dealer surmised from discussions with his Apple regional representative that the shortage of iBooks is because inventories are being used to fulfill educational orders.

"The funny thing is Apple has thousands of Cubes to sell, but not an iBook in sight," one perplexed dealer said.

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