In the wake of the media blitz generated by Apple over its soon-to-be-released consumer iMac, corporate customers trying to get their hands on the company's G3 PowerBooks are finding they are still in short supply.
While Apple trumpets the 150,000 advance orders it has received for the iMac, the shortage of PowerBooks is forcing customers onto long waiting lists and raising questions about whether Apple is really paying attention to its professional customers' needs.
Demand for the PowerBooks, which are available in 233MHz, 250MHz and 292MHz configurations, has been especially strong at the higher end, leaving resellers with lots of 233MHz models and a long wait for the faster machines. "We're short on 250s and 292s," said Jim Ashman, PowerBook product manager at Cyberian Outpost an online reseller in the US. "[The] allocation of 292s has been fairly tight. Allocation for the 250s is starting to get tight."
Customers ordering the higher-end PowerBooks will have to wait an undetermined period of time until their machine ships, Ashman said. "Anything we get in is going to back orders," he said.
Steve Jobs, Apple's interim CEO, addressed the supply problems at MacWorld last month, attributing them to overwhelming demand. Despite Jobs' assurance that the problems would be solved, resellers are still finding themselves in a tight situation. "Both the 250 and the 292 are out of stock currently, and I don't have an estimated date for their arrival," said one reseller, who asked for anonymity. Another reseller said he had one 250MHz system on hand due to a cancellation, but he had 40 292s on back order and didn't know when the orders could be filled.
Apple officials were not available for comment