APPLE’S inability to match demand of its popular iPod portable music players with supply is once again frustrating its resellers.
By last week local Apple distributor Renaissance had 8,000 outstanding iPod orders, worth over $3.2 million, on its books.
And resellers say they are feeling the pain, while large retailers alerted customers to shortages last week.
Noel Leeming’s online store advised potential shoppers that iPod availability is very limited and that no estimated time of arrival could be given, while Dick Smith Electronics said it was out of stock.
Staff at several major retail stores, inclu-ding Harvey Norman, said they were short on stock and could not say when supplies would be replenished.
Even Renaissance’s online Apple store warned stocks were constrained and that delays of five to six weeks could be expected.
The shortage has struck all iPod models, but is less severe on the Shuffle.
The 20GB and Mini models are in highest demand.
Daniel Parker, managing director of online Apple reseller TotallyMac.com, says Apple stock shortages occur regularly and confirms there are thousands of iPods on back order.
“As an Apple reseller it is something you are used to,” he says.
“Demand outstrips supply and Apple is not making enough products. It is a worldwide problem.”
Murray Wood of Magnum Mac says local shoppers are buying from Apple’s web stores overseas, which do not give prior warning of stock limitations.
“The sites say delivery will be in one or two days, but after the customer has placed the order and paid they are told shipment will be delayed,” he says.
“We are paying for our honesty as we do not take money from customers for placing back orders.”
Apple’s online store in Australia gives an expected delivery time on iPods of up to four days, while the US site promises same business day delivery and the UK store within 24 hours.
The current iPod shortage struck just as supply constraints of the new Mac Mini were relieved, says Wood.
Over-demand also led to stock limitations on iPods, iMacs and Apple notebooks late last year.
However, Steve Ford, Renaissance Apple division general manager, says regular shortages are not unique to Apple.
“I spent four years at Toshiba and from time to time we had product shortages as well,” he says.
Ford confirms the shortage is a result of demand outstripping supply.
“Sales have remained incredibly strong since before Christmas,” he says.
“Some quantities are coming through but not enough to meet demand and to put stock on people’s shelves. The product is in high demand globally and is not hitting these shores as quickly as we would like.”
Ford anticipates stock of Shuffles to become available within days, but he is still waiting for news on the 20GB and Mini iPods.