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Strong Sales May Delay Apple iMacs

Apple's two-week delay in shipping 27-inch iMacs could be due to the product's success, said NPD Group.

Antone Gonsalves

December 15, 2009

2 Min Read

Stronger-than-expected Mac desktop sales could be behind Apple's two-week delay in shipping 27-inch iMacs.

Sales at U.S. retailers in October and November were up 74% from the same period a year ago, Stephen Baker, analyst for market researcher NPD Group, told InformationWeek. With the majority of those sales iMacs, its possible that Apple is unable to ship orders for the 27-inch model until after Christmas.

"That's a pretty strong number, and typically that would say to me that maybe they have some issues in trying to get that level of product out the door," Baker said Tuesday.

Apple, which introduced the latest iMac line in October, typically sees a spurt of early sales in releasing product upgrades. During the previous iMac refresh in March, sales jumped 38% the first two months, according to NPD.

"They're very good at generating a lot of buzz and interest, and very good at capitalizing on it," Baker said of Apple.

Along with Mac desktop sales, Windows desktops also have been on the rise. During the same October/November time frames, sales of Windows desktops rose 5% from a year ago, according to NPD. The increase is seen as "pretty decent," because sales have been down each of the previous months in 2009, Baker said.

Beyond early sales, analysts will be looking at how long, and by how much, iMac sales will rise in the coming months. Sales of the 27-inch model will be particularly interesting because research shows that people typically prefer desktop monitors at around 21 inches.

In the meantime, Apple is faced with numerous complaints over the 27-inch iMac. Customers have reported flickering, cracked, or yellow-tinged screens, and their complaints have filled more than 80 pages on the company's support forum.

While declining to comment on the complaints, Apple has apologized for not being able to ship the product faster, and has told media that it is "working hard" at trying to fill orders.

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