Production issues might delay new iMacs until early 2013

By on November 15, 2012, 6:30 PM

If your holiday shopping list includes one of Apple's refreshed iMacs, you may want to start working on a backup plan. According to a "commercial source" speaking with French blog MacBidouille, the updated all-in-ones may not hit shelves until early next year due to manufacturing complications related to the 5mm edge thickness of the mounted display/chassis -- 80% thinner than previous generation models.

This reduction is partly achieved through a friction-stir welding process that uses heat and pressure to adjoin two aluminum surfaces, enabling seamless joints between chassis sections. MacBidouille notes that this method is used in other fields, such as the construction of aircraft wings, but apparently computer makers are less versed in the tech or the new iMacs are simply that complicated to build -- or both.

It's also believed that Apple's manufacturers are having trouble with producing the iMac's new displays. The screen is 45% thinner than what's inside last year's models and it uses a lamination process that eliminates the 2mm air gap between the panel and front glass. This approach increasingly common among smartphones and tablets, but it's reportedly harder to accomplish with the iMac's larger screens.  

We'd usually hesitate to run a rumor like this and we still recommend you take the news with a grain of salt, but recent comments from Apple suggest that things may not be going smoothly with its latest all-in-ones. During a conference call held a few days after Apple's October media event, CEO Tim Cook warned that the company was facing a "significant shortage" of the new iMacs through the fourth quarter.

Apple has declined to comment on MacBidouille's report and the company's online store still shows the original launch dates of November and December for the 21.5- and 27-inch iMacs. In a less extreme prediction, a person familiar with the situation told CNET that the 21.5-inch would probably be delayed until next month, but that both models would still ship in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season.

Along with their new complicatedly-thin design, the new iMacs introduce a hybrid storage technology that Apple calls "Fusion Drive." The 21.5-incher will start at $1,299 with a 1920x1080 IPS display, a 2.7GHz quad-core Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, an Nvidia GT 640M GPU and a 1TB HDD, while the base 27-inch version upgrades that to a 2560x1440 screen, a 2.9GHz quad-core Core i5 and a GTX 660M for $1,799.




User Comments: 10

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psycros psycros said:

When you're so obsessed with creating two-dimensional electronic devices that its hurting your distribution, you need to back it down a notch. Why exactly does anyone need a 5mm thick all-in-one? Does this <I>really</I> improve the experience for Apple users in any way? I'd say add a couple millimeters and cut your damn prices a bit. With the slow-motion train wreck of Windows 8 and Surface, Apple could rapidly get 30% of the desktop market if they'd just keep their prices within reason - say, within 25% of comparable Windows machines. If they can't or won't do this with iMacs then they could make some new Power Macs aimed squarely at gamers and design professionals. No surcharge for miniaturization needed there! The entire consumer and business world is weary of Microsoft's ever-increasing separation from reality. A reckoning is coming, and <I>somebody</I> will benefit from it. If Cook had any sense he'd be positioning his company to make huge gains. Apple can't ride the iPad/iPhone wave forever..that much is obvious from their latest round of products.

psycros psycros said:

LOL just hit me I'd said "Power Mac" instead of "Mac Pro". Getting old

Guest said:

Waaay overpriced for such weak specs. Oh right, Apple.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

Sexiest all-in-one ever created hands-down. It looks like a very slim screen, hard to imagine a whole monster lurking inside nonetheless.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

When you're so obsessed with creating two-dimensional electronic devices that its hurting your distribution, you need to back it down a notch...

That is the cost of innovation, and that's how Apple is trying to position itself on the market - as innovators, not some manufacturer of K-Mart knock-off-s dusting on shelves

Redondo said:

Meh... HP's Z1 is still better than these. The only thing new these imacs add is tapered design, a la HTC.

Guest said:

Friction-stir welding, 45% thinner display than before, 5mm edge thickness.. all of these sounds that new product of apple seems to be repair-proof (hard to repair when damaged) :D

Tygerstrike said:

Its Apple, what do you expect? Its the same overpriced crap with a different package. The only innovation Apple has done recently is the innovation of how to defy court orders. What Apple calls Innovation, the consumer market calls repackaging. Apple is hoping its fanboys and sheeple wont notice. Unfortunatly the rest of DO pay attention, so Apple isnt going to pull the wool over my eyes. I compare then shop.

Guest said:

Its not slim, its actually fat with slim edges like the ipad 1, its a nice design, they should ask samsung to redesign for them...lol then its will actually be slim/thin/with ok speed....muahahaha

Camikazi said:

Its not slim, its actually fat with slim edges like the ipad 1, its a nice design, they should ask samsung to redesign for them...lol then its will actually be slim/thin/with ok speed....muahahaha

Yea I noticed they NEVER show you a pic of the back only the edges and the front.

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