updated 08:45 pm EDT, Thu May 1, 2014
Supply-demand ratio improving after long wait times
Apple has altered the expected shipping times on its standard Mac Pro configurations down to 3-4 weeks, an improvement over the recent drop to 3-5 weeks seen in late April. Apart from a short window when the units were first announced, the new ship times are the best yet seen for Apple's thoroughly-redesigned workstation computer. At the beginning of April, ship times for the Mac Pro were estimated at five to six weeks, showing steady improvement towards supply-demand balance.
Shortly after its debut five months ago, shipping times climbed to as far as nearly three months after orders, leading many to wonder if Apple's commitment to USA-based production, or possibly technical issues, were hampering the rollout. While it is difficult to know for sure, Apple does genuinely seem to have been caught off-guard by the high demand for the long-overdue and revamped Mac Pro. Initial skepticism on the part of professional users and trade journals alike is seen to have dissipated following a clutch of stellar reviews of the innovative redesign.
The fact that even "white box" PC builders appear to be unable to match the capabilities of the machine for anywhere near the retail price may have convinced creative pros to abandon the traditional "wait and see" posture that tends to be the norm for deadline-oriented industries, alongside the rise of 4K HD video as a new shooting norm and the relatively light array of machines truly well-equipped to handle the infrastructure of huge video files.
Even as recently as February, the machine was still two months behind in expected shipping -- but this wait time has steadily dropped throughout April, falling from 5-6 weeks to 4-6 weeks on April 11, 4-5 weeks on April 18 and 3-5 weeks last Thursday. At the current pace, the standard Mac Pro configurations may hit a balance of demand and availability as early as the end of May.
Even so, the Mac Pro is still scarce in retail stores, remaining largely unavailable outside of premium mail-order resellers and Apple's own retail stores, and even those outlets usually only have pre-configured -- and very limited -- units for sale. As most Mac Pro sales are custom-configured, buying direct from Apple online remains the best option for most customers.