A record-breaking 150,000 units of Apple's new iMac have been pre-ordered since the product's announcement three weeks ago, the company said yesterday.

The first flat-panel iMac began shipping in the US yesterday. However, rumours claim that UK customers will have to wait for the 15-inch flat-panel, all-in-one 800MHz G4 with SuperDrive iMac.

Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said: "We have taken 150,000 pre-orders for the new iMac in the first three weeks - which is more than all the pre-orders we received for the original iMac in 1998. It's sure looking like the new iMac is going to be a huge hit with both Mac users and PC switchers."

The iMac ships with a suite of applications designed to add value to a plethora of digital products. The software includes: video-editing program iMovie 2; digital-music app iTunes 2, iDVD 2 and iPhoto, Apple's solution for acquiring, editing and sharing digital images.

The second new iMac, scheduled to ship in late February will be the 700MHz G4 model with Combo drive. Apple plans to ship the third 700MHz iMac in March.