The first of Apple's recently announced iMacs, the 800MHz SuperDrive-toting model, is unlikely to ship until mid-February, sources claim.

The high-end iMac is already available in the US. Apple received 150,000 pre-orders for the machine in the three weeks following its announcement. However, the Macs are produced in Taiwan, where local supplier Quanta has been contracted to manufacture 100,000 units per month.

The level of demand led Apple CFO Fred Anderson to warn: "It will take most of the quarter to ramp-up the manufacturing of the new iMacs, so we're not likely to meet expected demand during the quarter."

Apple Europe said: "Apple is still waiting to announce shipment dates for iMac in Europe."

A straw poll of resellers suggests that the top-end iMacs won't reach this country until mid-February at the earliest. Apple's mid- and low-end iMac shipment dates will be staggered, reflecting the US model.