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Analyst: iMac shortage could mean big problems for Apple

Apple’s flat-panel iMac continues to ship in extremely limited quantities, according to Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Fortuna. As reported by c|net, the brokerage firm estimates that just 5,000 to 10,000 iMacs were shipped in February, after Apple shipped about 5,000 units in January. For the quarter, Merrill Lynch had expected Apple to ship roughly 200,000 systems, a figure that now appears impossible to achieve. Reports of production problems in Taiwan are cited for the shortfall, which could significantly affect Apple’s earnings this quarter. Thus far, Apple has shipped only the high-end iMac model, and with just one day left in February the company appears poised to miss its goal of shipping the mid-range model by the end of this month. Additionally, new orders for the low-end CD-RW model, which was said would begin shipping in March, are now being quoted with five to seven week estimated ship time. Updated 17:30 – The Merrill Lynch report can be read here.

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