Apple confused UK retailers into believing it had launched the G4 500MHz series, Macworld Online can reveal.

Manesh Patel, a spokesman for leading UK computer retailer, Mygate, said: “Retailers were given a part-code by Apple, which we took to mean that the G4 500MHz series was a launched product, so we began taking pre-orders.”

Patel added: “Those clients who had ordered the G4s were Apple's serious users, including graphics and design professionals.

“Although we only took ten orders, Mygate has been engaged in lively correspondence with Apple, asking them for some kind of commitment, or at least a price break, for these customers. We’ve heard nothing from them as yet.”

Patel revealed that customers are “very unhappy”, as retailers are able to do nothing more than offer to cancel orders, or offer lower-spec machines at the same price.

Apple was unavailable for comment.