Apple: No new iMacs for you
'Weird,' says an analyst of Apple's move to eschew pre-orders, even as it pulls older iMacs from its e-store
Computerworld - Although Apple on Tuesday unveiled redesigned iMac desktop computers, it has none to sell, nor is it taking pre-orders for the slimmer, higher-priced all-in-one.
At the same time, Apple pulled the previous generation of iMacs from its website.
As of Wednesday morning, Apple's online store shows the iMac -- both 21.5-in. and 27-in. models -- as shipping in November and December, respectively. There is no way to pre-order the new machines.
Nor was Apple's toll-free sales department able to take a pre-order. An Apple sales representative told Computerworld that the new iMacs were not yet posted in Apple's internal sales system, that he could not take a pre-order, and that he did not know when pre-orders would start.
The representative, however, did say he would take contact information and call when pre-orders opened.
Apple revealed the new iMacs at an event Tuesday in San Jose, Calif., where it also launched the iPad Mini and a Retina display-equipped 13-in. MacBook Pro.
It's not unusual for Apple to announce new hardware and pause several days before starting to take pre-orders, then take a week or more to stock the goods in its retail stores and begin delivering orders to customers. The iPad Mini, for example, goes on sale Nov. 2, with pre-orders kicking off on Friday, Oct. 26.
But it is atypical of the detail-oriented company to reveal a product, defer shipping for weeks or more than a month, not accept pre-orders from customers, and at the same time withdraw the just-superseded models from sales.
Essentially, Apple has stopped selling the iMac through its online store.
"I do not recall them doing something like this before," said Carolina Milanesi, a Gartner analyst, in an email reply to questions late Tuesday.
Stephen Baker, an analyst with the NPD Group who tracks retail sales, agreed. "Typically, they don't have products that are shipping that far out," Baker observed of the November and December estimated release dates.
The only older iMacs for sale by Apple via its website are refurbished systems, which are often units returned by customers that the company sells at a discount.
Other online and brick-and-mortar retailers have the 2011-era iMacs -- that was the last time Apple refreshed the line -- for sale, including Amazon and Best Buy. Several Apple retail stores contacted by Computerworld also had older iMacs available.
Another analyst thought the omission was so unusual that he believed it to be an error or glitch of some sort.
"It has to be a mistake. At the very least, they will allow you to pre-order," said Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research. "If they don't fix it fast, it will be a problem, but I'm sure something will change soon."
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