Apple’s (AAPL) Ultra Slim iMacs May Be Delayed Until 2013

French Apple blog ‘MacBidouillereports that it has learned from a “commercial source” that Apple (AAPL)’s new iMac all-in-one PC models will not be ready for sale by the holiday shopping season. When the new ultra-slim profiles were introduced three weeks ago, Apple said the 21.5″ model would be released by the end of November, with the 27″ model shipping by year-end.

The blog speculates that Apple is having supply-chain difficulties, as its manufacturers are having a hard time with the new profiles which apparently require “an advanced welding technique” to produce, as well as a new method for producing the LCD screens. The new iMacs are quite an impressive feat of engineering. Being a mind-boggling 80% thinner than the line before them, the new super-slim profiles boast an edge that’s only 5 millimeters thick. The point is that it’s not surprising that they’re challenging to mass produce.

As noted by MacRumours, Apple CEO Tim Cook himself has already admitted during his company’s recent earnings call that iMac production delays are possible.

“In terms of general shortages on the iMac, we’ll be constrained for the full quarter in a significant way, part of that is that we’re beginning shipping the 21.5-inch iMac in November and the 27-inch in December. And so there will be a short amount of time during the quarter to manufacture and ramp those and I expect the demand to be robust. So we will have a significant shortage there,” Cook said.

In other words, what Cook is basically saying is that those prepared to have a new iMac under the Christmas tree this holiday season may be in for a disappointment. That said, let’s keep in mind that these delays are still speculative at this point since MacBidouille hasn’t released their source. 

Hopefully, Apple’s online store will be updated with new info regarding the iMac soon.

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1 Comment on Apple’s (AAPL) Ultra Slim iMacs May Be Delayed Until 2013

  1. Let’s also consider that we have no idea how many iMacs have been ordered, nor in what sizes. Just from discussions with friends who’ve been into Macs far longer than me (I have 30+ years of Windows experience, less than 2 with Mac), it appears to me that the new iMacs have unleashed a dormant demand for the line. It is entirely possible that Apple underestimated demand for the category, in part because they believed too much in their own “post-PC” position.

    We have seen recently that Apple has announced release dates, and then quickly run out of inventory. I think back as to how they mobilized all of DHL capacity and much of FedEx in March of last year to get the iPad 3 to the U.S. – and it took about a week to stretch deliveries beyond the pre-order promised dates. Recently, we saw them go quickly to 3-4 week delays for the iPhone 5. The white iPad Mini sold out 20 minutes after pre-order opened, and the black version a few hours later.

    I am troubled by the series of supposed Apple supply-chain issues being anonymously raised by Chinese sources over the past few months. Sure, it is possible that an unprecedented incompetence has crept into the Apple supply chain management, but past success makes that less likely.

    What is not counted in is the possibility that Apple is unwilling to release new sales benchmarks beyond the historic ones. They go burned by the unprecedented “100 million iPad sales” number released on October 23rd, as bear analysts jumped all over it as a negative. They then released the historically precedented first-weekend sales number for the iPad Mini and iPad 4 – and then, shut up.

    Apple is, for better or for worse, pretty insensitive to the price of its stock on a short term basis. It roils enough without their comments. While the negative insinuations of the bears COULD be correct, there is another possibility: Demand is so off the forecasts that they and their suppliers are having a difficult time meeting it.

    All the analysts who’ve visited the malls report that Apple stores are jammed with customers, even during the Hurricane Sandy shopping lull here on the East Coast – while the pop-up Samsung and Microsoft mall stands were dead. That’s pretty interesting, since the Apple stores have been encouraging customers anxious for new products to buy online and take home delivery, to keep down crowds in the stores during the upcoming season.

    And so, it is entirely possible that the delays are explained by unforecast demand rather than supply. Samsung S3 sales may be driven largely by carrier store sales (where reps work hard to de-promote iPhones, because of their higher cost to the carrier). Those who want an iMac or an iPhone 5 seem unlikely to pick a competitor due to the delays – and Apple probably knows that. Come January, when they announce sales for the quarter, we’ll know.

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