iMac: The cute blue tubby is white-hot
From San Francisco Bureau Chief Greg Lefevre
E-mail: glefevre@CNN.comSeptember 18, 1998
Web posted at: 8:12 p.m. EDT (0012 GMT)
In this story:
(CNN) -- Chances are you CAN buy the iMac at a store near you. Just make sure you buy early in the weekend.
"We're usually sold out by Sunday afternoon," said one clerk. "If everybody who wanted to install over the weekend came in at once, we couldn't meet them all."
A month into the life of Apple's breakthrough machine, it's still hot stuff.
Distribution channels that were clogged in mid-August are flowing once again. ComputerWare, among the best-known of the Mac-only retailers in the San Francisco area, still runs tight at some of its stores despite almost daily deliveries. Other stores say they've got enough to "stay even" with orders.
CompUSA says the iMac "was the best selling and remains the best selling computer we've ever had."
With the addition of the former Tandy ComputerCity stores, CompUSA now has more than 200 outlets nationwide with iMacs in all of them. Executive Vice President Larry Mondry says all stores have "sufficient inventory" to meet the demand.
CompUSA was the first chain to promote an Apple "store within a store" featuring Macintosh computers. It stands to reason that Apple would make sure one of its allies during Apple's darkest hours would get the product it needs when times are better. The same seems true with Mac-only computer chains.
Creative Computers MacMall reported $4 million in iMac orders into the second week of the iMac release.
Mac to PC crossover
ComputerWare of the Bay Area surveyed its early iMac customers and found a lot of them actually deserted the PC format for the Mac. ComputerWare customers say one in seven iMac buyers are using the iMac to replace a PC.
Hard numbers, real counts are as scarce as hen's teeth. ComputerWare, obviously delighted at the iMac's success, revealed a few figures.
In the iMac's opening two weeks, ComputerWare says it sold 1,700 Macintosh computers. Seventy-two percent of them were iMacs. In all of August, ComputerWare sold 2,002 Macs of all types -- three times the number it sold in August the year before.
What's the attraction?
The ComputerWare survey found the top two reasons for buying the iMac, by heavy margins, were simplicity and speed. Cost and style were next.
The online retailer MacMall reports its PC users have expressed interest in the iMac, so it will add iMac advertising to its PCMall and ComputAbility catalogs.
Apple plays up the conversion in its press releases. Although the concept of PC users abandoning the format is tantalizing to Mac fans, the actual numbers are probably not enough to upset the computer universe.
'The news is gonna be good'
Apple is not releasing its sales figures for the iMac. The core's close friends believe that information will be saved for the end-of-fiscal-year report September 25. Early buzz is that "the news is gonna be good."
Apple has told its analysts that its comfy 25 percent profit margin per computer sold in previous quarters will go down because the iMac earns less per unit. But the number of iMacs sold might be great enough that Apple will still be happy.
Korean iMitation Mac?
The San Jose Mercury News reports a Korean consortium plans a mini-PC to compete with the iMac for $499. Target date: April. It's promoted as having the same "look and feel" as the iMac but in a PC format.
That's odd. The iMac's look and feel is so anti-PC. Much of its charm comes from its Mac operating system and zippy G3 microprocessor. The Korean version will be based on Intel's Celeron chip, the economy-priced PC chip that's not gotten terrific reviews of late.
Some in-store displays are demonstrating iMacs with Virtual PC and Softwindows, trying to expand the iMac's market to dual-format users.
That may answer some of Apple's harshest critics, "Why don't you make an iMac in Windows format?"
Is this it?
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