At Thursday’s Macworld Expo keynote address in Tokyo, Apple Computer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs noted that the company is now shipping the new flat panel iMac in volume. Jobs said that Apple is shipping more than 5,000 iMacs per day, and hopes catch up with demand soon. Unfortunately, rising component costs have precipitated an unusual move on Apple’s part — the company is immediately increasing the price for new iMacs by US$100.

“We appreciate our customers’ and resellers’ patience during this ramp-up period,” said Jobs

The cost of the new iMacs is increasing because of prices associated with memory and LCD (liquid crystal display) flat-panel displays, according to Apple. The 700MHz model with CD-RW (CD-rewritable) is now $1,399, the 700MHz Combo drive-equipped system is now $1,599, and the 800MHz SuperDrive equipped model is now $1,899.

Apple said it will honour all existing reseller orders and online Apple Store placed as of today at the original pricing, however — so if you already have your order in but haven’t yet received your system, you needn’t worry about paying more.

Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller called the rising component costs “an industry-wide issue.” Memory prices have tripled and flat panel costs have gone up by 25 per cent since January, when the new flat panel iMac was introduced.

“Some manufacturers are de-configuring their models in response to these rising costs — reducing memory and disk drive capacity, for example. We’ve chosen to raise prices by $100 and stick with our three fully-configured new iMac models,” said Schiller.