Apple closes Retina MacBook Pro supply-demand gap

Shortest shipping delays since high-resolution notebook's June debut

Apple continues to narrow the gap between supply and demand for its high-priced, high-resolution Retina MacBook Pro and looks to be on track to make good on the CEO's promise last month.

Last week, the Retina MacBook Pro's status shortened from "1-2 weeks" to "5-7 business days" on Apple's domestic and international online stores. The timeframes are estimates of the delay between ordering and shipping.

During Apple's second-quarter earnings call last month, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that the notebook was in short supply, but said that would soon change.

"We ended the quarter with backlog and we are working really hard to deliver those to customers quickly and we believe that we will be in supply and demand balance in August," said Cook two weeks ago.

Apple unveiled the Retina MacBook Pro on June 11 at its annual developers conference, calling it the "most beautiful computer we've ever made," in large part because of its 2880 x 1880-pixel display.

Although Philip Schiller, Apple's head of marketing, said at the notebook's debut, "The best thing is, it's going to start shipping today," stocks quickly evaporated, with time-to-ship climbing first to "2-3 weeks," then hours later "3-4 weeks."

It wasn't until a month later that delays decreased. Since mid-July, they have been steadily shrinking.

If the trend continues, Apple should have no problem reducing the current delay to its next status steps, "3-4 days" and then "1-2 days," before posting "In stock" by the end of the month.

Reviewers have lauded the Retina MacBook Pro, Apple's most expensive laptop.

Prices start at $2,199 for the 15-in. notebook equipped with a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel processor, 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD (solid-state drive) storage device.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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