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New Power Macs delayed

Power Macs that are due this week will appear in three weeks, Apple says. Unspecified quality issues are to blame.

Apple Computer (AAPL) today confirmed a three-week delay in manufacturing new versions of its Power Macintosh models, which were originally slated to be available this week.

The various new Power Mac models will hit store shelves and resellers throughout March, with the 9600/233 due to ship in late April, as previously scheduled. Production lines resumed operation yesterday, Apple spokeswoman Nancy Morrison said.

Apple officials attributed the delay to quality issues. "We don't discuss our manufacturing issues prior to production," Morrison said. "The important thing is that the products from Apple that are shipping are those we have confidence in."

Ross Ely, a Power Mac product manager, specifically denied reports that a "heat issue" had caused the delay.

Power Mac 4400/200 machines and 7300/180 models will be available in early March, with prices starting at $1,700 and $2,300 respectively. Higher-end models will be available in the second half of March, Morrison said. Those include the 9600/200, priced at $3,700; the 8600/200, starting at $3,200; and the 7300/200, starting at $2,700.

In the meantime, Power Mac buyers may have to search to find the older models. "Customers may find that they go to one place where there aren't any, while another may have an ample supply," added Morrison, who noted that Power Mac prices dropped February 1. "There are some really good buys in Power Macs."

The new Power Macs were unveiled yesterday at Macworld Expo in Tokyo.