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Apple G5 shipments slow in Europe, Asia-Pacific

Late September to mid-October release timetable

Apple's eagerly awaited Power Mac G5 is slowly spreading out into the channel and to buyers, but not without some teething troubles, it seems.

While Mac fans and Apple customers are reporting receipt of shipment details and in-store sightings around the world, some web sites have hinted at hardware glitches that have delayed the release of some machines.

According to a MacBidouille report, G5 shipments have been held back by "a problem with the door lock that has appeared on the assembly line".

Germany's apparently reported a recall of initial shipments of the machine and a freeze on distribution of the 1.6GHz model, though the site admitted it had no official word from Apple on the matter, and couldn't say whether the problem was technical or not.

According to Taiwanese newspaper, the Economic News, local manufacturer Hon Hai is punching out the Power Macs on Apple's behalf. Initial production problems are not uncommon, though since the paper claims the manufacturer has been building G5s since June - probably pre-production samples, we'd guess - you'd have thought it would have solved such problems by now.

Whether there are technical issues such as the one mentioned by MacBidouille, we can't say. However, it's worth noting that Apple's online store in the UK is noting a three to five week ship time for the standard 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz models, and four to six weeks for the dual 2GHz machine. Those timeframes are listed across Apple's European, Far Eastern and Australia sites.

In the US, shipments of the first two models are down to just over a week. Like the UK, North American customers will have to wait four to six weeks for the dual 2GHz G5.

According to a distribution bullet issued by Apple to resellers in the US, and seen by ThinkSecret, the 2GHz machine may ship sooner, but education buyers will get their orders first, hence to long wait - out into October, effectively - for regular customers.

While Apple Japan has said that it is putting back the release of the G5 by a month, we've heard no similar statement from Europe, even though both regions have the same ship dates listed on their respective Apple Store web sites. Apple Japan's official revised schedule matches the 3-5 weeks and 4-6 weeks listed in Europe for the 1.6/1.8GHz boxes and the 2GHz Power Mac, respectively.

All of which suggests Apple is focusing on the US market while Hon Hai ramps up production. As the volume of output builds, Power Macs will begin to arrive in other regions. To what extend the build-up has been affected by the rumoured technical issues isn't known, but shipments of previous new Macs have been similarly staggered. Others have shipped worldwide very quickly after the US debut. ®

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