Apple's G5s get sent to school

The computer maker delays the shipping of its dual-processor Power Mac G5 to individual consumers, opting instead to send the first of the fast desktops to schools.

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Apple Computer has delayed the shipping of its dual-processor Power Mac G5 to consumers, opting instead to ship the first of the fast desktops to schools.

Apple, which had promised the first customers of the dual-processor 2GHz Power Macs that their machines would ship by the end of August, is now saying it may take until the end of this month for those people to get their machines. The delay is due to the company's attempt to equip colleges and other educational institutions for the back-to-school season.

A number of customers reported receiving an e-mail from Apple over the Labor Day weekend saying that their orders had been pushed back by three to four weeks.

"The demand for the dual-processor PowerMac has been overwhelming and our employees are working around-the-clock to meet demand," according to the e-mail, which was posted on several Mac enthusiasts' sites. "Initial units will be sent to education institutions to meet key back-to-school deadlines. We currently anticipate shipping your new G5 PowerMac in 3-4 weeks," the e-mail said.

In a statement Tuesday, Apple said that it had started shipping some dual-processor machines, but said it would be getting up to volume production speed in the next two weeks. "The dual-processor 2GHz Power Mac G5s have begun shipping and are making their way to customers, with production volumes ramping up during the next two weeks," Apple said. "The 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz models are already in volume production, and we have shipped over 25,000 of them."

Until this weekend, Apple had been telling customers that the dual-processor machines would ship before the end of the month, a pledge it reiterated when it announced in mid-August that its single-chip Power Mac G5 machines had started shipping.

At that time, Apple noted that it had received 100,000 orders for the Power Mac G5 in the weeks since CEO Steve Jobs first showed off the aluminum-encased machines.

Boosting sales of the Power Mac line is viewed as critical for Apple, which has seen its shipments of the high-end desktop on the wane for some time, and is taking a toll on overall company profits, according to the company.

Last quarter, Apple sold just 156,000 Power Macs, down from a peak of more than 400,000 a quarter in early 1999, and down from 211,000 units sold a year earlier.

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