The new iMac, announced at the same time as the iPad mini, may not be available to buy until next year, according to French site, MacBidouille.
Citing a ‘commercial source,’ MacBidouille explains that the friction stir welding technique used to seamlessly join the two aluminium pieces which make up the iMac’s chassis is proving more difficult than expected.
The optical lamination technique used to fuse the display to its glass cover is also problematic, particularly in the 27in model, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to clients, several weeks before the iMac was announced, he wrote: ‘Apple has demanded full-lamination between the panel and the cover glass. Lamination for the relatively large 27-inch panel comes with a lower yield, so we expect the 27-inch iMac to trail 21.5-inch iMac by 6-8 weeks in hitting the marketplace.’
The iMac is still listed on Apple’s online store with availability in November for the 21.5in, and December for the 27in model. Tellingly, however, you can’t pre-order, nor even configure a build-to-order iMac.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, admitted during a conference call with analysts last month that there would be a ‘significant shortage’ of the new iMac. At the time, analysts were split on whether it would prove to be a serious problem. ‘As long as Apple has a lot of inventory by the middle of November they will be okay,’ said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. But Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research was more concerned. ‘If they don’t fix it fast, it will be a problem,’ he said.
The middle of November is now here, of course, and there’s no sign of any iMac inventory. Worse still, Apple has no inventory of the previous iMac to sell on its website, although resellers still have some available.
Were Apple to go through the whole Christmas buying season without an iMac for sale, it would not make a huge dent in its quarterly bottom line, but would be seen as further evidence of supply chain problems for the company.