First buyers receive PowerBooks; dealers frustrated
By Brad Gibson
The old adage ‘the early bird gets the worm’ appears to be very true in the case of
PowerBook G4 buyers who ordered within the first 48 hours of learning about the new slim line laptop. Customers — among them many MacCentral readers — have started to receive their orders or have been notified of their imminent arrival. As for dealers, just getting a demonstration model is becoming a monumental task.
“I received my new PowerBook G4 today (Thursday) and almost fell over from shock,” said Josh Barr, a new PowerBook G4 owner from Chicago. “I felt like a Publishers Clearing House winner when the delivery guy came to the door. I thought it was a joke at first.”
Barr reports the new Titanium laptop is working perfectly and that his hastiness in ordering less than an hour after Steve Jobs’ keynote address on January 9 apparently paid off. “I thought for sure his guarantee of shipment before the end of the month would never happen, but apparently it did,” Barr commented. “I remember getting countless busy signals when I called the
Apple Store to order. I just kept speed dialing and finally got someone who actually knew what they were talking about.”
Barr’s first impression of his new PowerBook G4? “Light, man. Really light!”
Barr appears to be the first drop of what is beginning as a trickle of customers who have either received or have been notified their shipments are on the way of the 5.3 pound, 1-inch thick Apple laptop. Numerous MacCentral readers report having received FedEx tracking numbers with several receiving e-mails from Apple confirming they should have their new PowerBook by today or by next Tuesday.
Although it is not known how many
PowerBooks started shipping on Monday or how popular the unit has been in terms of orders, it appears Apple is starting to work through the first week of backlogged orders. Many who have informed MacCentral of a delivery confirmation report having bought the product within the first seven days.
As an example one PB buyer, who purchased a unit within three hours of its announcement, has received word to expect delivery next Monday, while another who ordered on Jan. 12, has been told to expect his order Friday, Feb. 9.
For dealers, “It’s a crap shoot”
The experience for Apple dealers awaiting even a demonstration unit is the difference between night and day compared to customers who bought directly from Apple. The wait is compounded by not being able to get a better idea of when they can expect their first units other than the customary quote of “sometime in the next 30 days.”
None of the dealers MacCentral spoke with were willing to let their names be used for this story, but were openly willing to share their frustrations in not getting PowerBook G4s.
“Do you think I really care when I’m going to get PowerBook G4? Hell, I’m hoping just to get a demonstration unit to show customers,” an Apple dealer in Georgia told MacCentral. “It’s very frustrating when the very company I’m trying to support can’t get me even one unit to show customers, but they can start shipping units to online customers.”
“I got a demo unit yesterday,” another dealer in Boston said, “but as for when I can realistically expect product to actually sell, your guess is as good as mine. I’ve got 14 orders for the new PowerBook, but I can’t even tell these buyers a vague window of when they’ll arrive. I’m concerned they’ll find a unit somewhere else before I get them and that’s very frustrating that I could lose that business.”
While some dealers continue to wait for their initial orders, others have received demo units and even a limited number of sale units. Apple dealers in Dallas and New York confirm receiving new PowerBook G4s for sale, but the number has been less than five in all cases.
Dealers who buy product directly from Apple are being told the wait on PowerBook G4s is “45 days”, but that is often a standard quote by Apple in an effort to be ‘better safe than sorry’. Dealers are optimistic availability will untighten by the day and they will be able to receive units soon, but are concerned that based on past situations, anything can happen.
As for dealers who can buy only through national distributors, such as Ingram Micro and TechData, the picture is looking somewhat better, but still iffy.
Dealers MacCentral spoke to Friday said some Ingram Micro warehouses are showing they will have “small lots” of PowerBook G4s by next Friday, while other warehouses still report they will not receive units until March 5.
“Who knows when I’ll get them,” one dealer said. “I’ll know they’ve arrived when I see the smile on my UPS driver’s face.”