Analysts from Prudential Equity Group and UBS have warned over the past two days that longer than expected G5 delays from IBM is the near-term "key risk" for Apple. Both firms are concerned the delays could be longer than originally expected.

"Following a series of recent checks on Apple, we believe that availability of the company's 1.8GHz and 2GHz G5 processors may be worse than initially anticipated," said Prudential analysts. "Apple had previously stated that it expected to have shortages of its 1.8GHz and 2GHz processors through July, with supply catching up in August. We now believe that IBM may be having difficulty meeting its revised supply commitments."

Even though it appears IBM is dedicating more resources to getting the G5 chips to Apple, customers still may face shortages especially with the anticipated release of a G5 iMac later this month at Apple Expo Paris.

"Powermac shipments should face yield issues into fiscal first quarter 2005 and a new iMac to be launched later this month to strong demand, should be met with shortages," said analysts at UBS.

Prudential did not change its rating on Apple, but cautioned while the "financial impact should be modest, we caution that upside to numbers looks difficult, and in fact, there is potentially some risk of sales/earnings-per-share shortfall. At over 28 times fiscal 2005 operating EPS, the shares look priced for perfection and could get nicked on any unwelcome news."