Resellers Take A Shine To Apple Rollout

Apple unveiled four new iMacs, revamped MacBooks, an improved Mac minis line and a Magic Mouse. The plethora of products are also reasonably priced, at least for Apple. To see what the new models look like, click here. While resellers have yet to get their hands on new models, they gave enthusiastic sales forecasts.

"These products are going to be extremely popular at these price points, especially with high-end consumers and professionals," said Nick Gold, sales manager at Chesapeake Systems, a Baltimore, Md.-based Apple VAR. Gold was wowed by the new 27-inch iMacs, but iffy on the retooled Mighty Mouse, now known as the Magic Mouse.

"I would describe the 27-inch iMac as stunning," he said. "The impact is going to be almost unlike any other desktop product in the mark. The mouse is interesting but it remains to be seen how functional it will be -- it needs to be an improvement over the previous mouse to go over very well."

Apple also refreshed its Mac mini line, and added a brand new model configured with Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server.

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"I thought it was interesting to see a server configured in the lineup," Gold said. "We've experimented using a Mac mini as a server and some clients use them in that capacity, and even this wasn't intended for the market, Apple seems to have noted that."

Customers are already clamoring for the new products over at Simply Macintosh, an Arcata, Calif."based Apple reseller.

"As soon as we opened today, people were calling and wondered if we had these products in stock," said salesperson David Wilson. "People were asking about iMacs the most."

As for customers who have been waiting for minis, they couldn't be happier. Wilson said that minis have been on back order, sparking speculation that a refresh was on the way. Those customers obviously didn't wait in vain since they will now get the snazzy new versions.

Kauffman Brothers analyst Shaw Wu was also impressed with the rollout, and believes that Apple has hit a home run with the new iMacs.

"Out of the new products, we find the new iMac and Magic Mouse most intriguing," Wu said in a research note. "We believe the new entry-level iMac at $1,199 offers great value with its new 21.5-inch LED-backlit screen with 1080p HDTV resolution. In addition, the new high-end 27-inch model for $1,999 comes standard with Nehalem quad-core processors. We believe the new iMac is positioned to be sleeper hit."

While many industry watchers believe that Apple's massive rollout was a pre-emptive strike against Microsoft's Win 7 launch, Wu said he found the timing curious since Apple posted such a great third quarter, shipping 3.05 million Macs.

However, Wu said that when he drilled down further into the September quarter's Mac results, he found that the desktop Mac business was "lackluster," and was down 7 percent quarter-over-quarter, although portable Macs more than offset the loss, growing 29 percent quarter-over-quarter.

"We believe this refresh will ensure that strong Mac momentum is maintained and allow desktop Macs to once again be a growth business," Wu said.

All in all, Apple is keeping customers, resellers and investors pretty happy.

"From a larger perspective, these product announcements in tandem with record earnings and in the midst of the Win 7 release -- I see this as a shot across the bow of Microsoft and I see Apple in a very good place for growth," Chesapeake Systems' Gold summed up.