UK dealers are pleased, but unsurprised, at Apple's decision to slash Mac retail prices across its pro-level systems.

Manesh Patel, managing director at UK dealer Mygate, told Macworld: "The price cuts were not really a surprise to us as there were cashback offers that ended December 31, 2000. It leads us to expect new pro-level machines, as it makes sense to try to encourage inventory sales through the channel."

Up to £700 off As Macworld reported yesterday, Apple has cut the price of the single-processor Power Mac G4 from £1,149 (ex. VAT) to just £899. The 450MHz G4 Cube price has been diced, falling to £999. PowerBooks and dual-processor Power Macs have also seen price cuts, though iMac and iBook prices remain the same.

450MHz dual-processor G4 Power Macs - which ship with 128MB RAM and 30GB hard drives - now cost £1,399. The 500MHz MP Power Mac has seen a massive £700 lopped of its price; this machine now costs £1,799.

Apple also cut its professional laptop prices. The entry-level 400MHz PowerBook now costs £1,399, £300 less than before. The 500MHz PowerBook also falls £300, from £1,899 to £1,599.

New products Patel said: "We've seen no impact on sales yet. People in the know will be waiting to see what Apple announces at Macworld Expo next week. They will want to see what the prices, features and availability of the new products are.

"Availability is the key issue", said Patel, "we expect a smooth transition (from old to new product lines)."

The Mygate MD has no firm information regarding what announcements may be looming, but echoed industry speculation, saying: "I expect a new line up of pro-level computers from Apple - PowerBooks and Power Macs in particular."

Apple's current stock value ($14.875) is marginally above its 12-month low of $13.625 – its stock rose as high as $63 over the last twelve months. This is due to disappointing results, and pessimistic predictions for the current quarter.

Poor sales have caused a major build-up in Apple's inventory of unsold products, the company had 11 weeks worth of unsold stock in hand in early December. Industry watchers estimate Apple to be sitting on some seven to eight weeks worth of inventory, although certain models such as consumer iMac and iBooks could be well below the average five weeks Apple normally holds.