Apple to raise iMac prices

Hit by rising prices of some computer components, Apple Computer has decided to raise the price of its new iMac line of computers by $US100, translating to a price hike of $200 in Australia.

Citing a three-fold increase in the cost for memory and a 25 per cent rise in the price of LCD monitors, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the vendor will raise the prices for all three models of its new iMac computer. The price rises will come into effect in Australia in early April.

Calling the price rises "the last thing we wanted to do", Jobs said he hopes the price rises will be temporary. "But we are not sure how long the price trend will last."

Memory chip prices have been rising from all-time lows since late last year. The spot price of 256MB of DRAM (dynamic RAM) is currently around $US65 per stick, according to data from memory market watcher ICIS-LOR. Six months ago, the same piece of memory was selling on the spot market for around $US22.

Component price rises are affecting the entire PC industry, and Sony announced earlier this week a new version of its popular new Vaio W desktop and a $US152 price rise, which it blamed on the same hike in component prices.

While the increase in prices takes immediate effect, the company will meet existing reseller orders and Apple online store orders at the original pricing, Jobs said.

The announcement of the increase in prices comes as Apple said production of the new iMac has reached the point where the company can begin clearing a backlog in demand for the funky, lamp-like computer. Apple has so far shipped 125,000 new iMacs since the model's launch on January 7, with an additional 5000 units shipping each day, Jobs said.

"It's a big hit," said Jobs of the iMac. "We haven't been able to keep up with demand."

He also took time to say that rumours that Apple has been favouring its own stores over those of other retailers in supplying the hard-to-find machine were "not true". He said less than 10 per cent of all iMac machines shipped have been sent to Apple's own stores and said the remainder have been sent to other resellers "who we value highly".

With the increase in production of the machine, Jobs said Apple expects to have caught up with demand and cleared its backlog of orders by the end of April.

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