Apple is due to start shipping a Spanish version of the iMac in the US this week, according to Web reports.

The iMac, with a Spanish version of the Mac OS pre-installed, will be offered directly from Apple. This will mark the first time Apple has offered a pre-configured, non-English version of the computer in the US, according to Wired.com.

Customer demand has prompted the company to offer the Spanish iMac. According to 1997 census figures, 32 million Americans, or 11 per cent of the population, are of Hispanic origin, and Spanish is the second most popular language after English.

The company is gauging demand before considering selling it in shops, said an Apple spokeswoman.