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Total APPLE DESKTOP ABSENCE set to last past XMAS - sources

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Apple's channel partners and customers will have a desktop shaped hole in their respective portfolio and shopping list this Chrimbo.

The new 21.5-inch iMacs were due to start shipping in late November and the 27 inch model was expected in December, but the word in the supply chain is that no products are likely to arrive in any volumes before January.

"We might see a few units but no significant quantities until 2013," said one Apple house who claimed to be in the know, "it's a nightmare but what can you do, it's Apple, I can't cry, I'm all cried out".

Last generation iMacs were phased out September, the reseller said, meaning that by the time the new machines arrive partners could have had a whole quarter without an Apple desktop to sell.

"There is a huge gap between the old models and the new ones, so there is a bit of a clamour because this is Apple's largest quarter and they don't have desktops to supply the market," he said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook already flagged up "general shortages" on the iMac when discussing Q4 numbers with analysts back last month but he expected shipping dates of late November and December.

"We'll be constrained for the full quarter in a significant way … there will be a short amount of time during the quarter to manufacture and ramp those and I expect demand to be robust," he said.

Channel partners have high expectations too, with one saying, "this is a whole new design, not just a processor or feature upgrade. When it launches it will fly out of the door, I'll be frustrated if we don't get enough".

The four iMacs - two versions of each size - sport a five millimetre thin edge, an SDXC card slot, have no Optical Drive, and are powered by 2.7GHz to 3.2GHz quad-core 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 processors.

If there are production gremlins in the build of the machines - a rumour first aired by a French blogger - then Apple is keeping schtum with partners, but then again that's hardly a first.

We are awaiting comment from Apple and if it arrives we'll update accordingly. ®

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