Mac Pro ship date slips to April as profiteers mark up computers 50 percent or more

The supply-demand mismatch gets worse, not better, for Apple's radically redesigned desktop computer

Apple continued to have problems meeting demand for its radically redesigned Mac Pro desktop computer, with ship dates today extending into April.

Earlier today, ship estimates for new orders stretched into April in several foreign markets, including China, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K., as first reported by MacGeneration, which is based in France. Soon after, Apple's U.S. and Canadian online stores followed suit, showing April as the estimated ship date.

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Although the Mac Pro -- a distinctive-looking black cylinder that's 10 inches tall and about 7 inches in diameter -- went on sale Dec. 19, it almost immediately slipped into back order. The February estimate was later pushed into March before today's change to April.

The pricey computer starts at $2,999 for the low-end stock configuration and can be tricked out to a top price of $9,599.

At least one analyst predicted that the Mac Pro, while catering to the line's traditional power users, creative professionals and engineers, would also become a status symbol of sorts for those with the wherewithal to buy one.

The shipping delays continue to hint at low production volumes at the new Apple factory in Austin, Texas, where the computer is assembled. Apple has touted the Mac Pro's built-in-the-U.S.A. trait, including a rare tweet by CEO Tim Cook at the machine's launch.

Shortages of the Mac Pro will not materially affect Apple's bottom line, as the Mac division accounted for just 11 percent of the company's revenue for the December quarter. The Mac Pro, while expensive, will make up only a fraction of the unit sales of the line overall, which last quarter reached 4.8 million, the majority of those notebooks from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro families.

But the extended shortages mean that the revenue the Mac Pro produces is being pushed from the current quarter into the calendar's second. They also are reminiscent of the fiasco Apple created in late 2012 and early 2013, when it announced a redesigned iMac without an inventory even as it pulled the older models from its stores.

The shortages also spurred profit takers to list their new Mac Pro systems on eBay at prices significantly higher than list.

Mac Pro prices on the auction and sales website today were as high as $6,250 for a configuration that Apple sells for $3,999, a 56 percent markup. Another of the several listings asked $4,499 for a system that runs $2,999 from Apple, a 50 percent profit for the seller.

This article, Mac Pro ship date slips to April as profiteers mark up computer 50 percent or more, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com. See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com. Read more about Macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.

This story, "Mac Pro ship date slips to April as profiteers mark up computers 50 percent or more" was originally published by Computerworld.

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