The new iMac delivery saga:
Apple's online store was updated on recently to reflect shipping times of between three and four weeks for new orders of its redesigned 27-inch iMacs. Previously, orders were advertised to ship "in January" — a change that was made last month to let customers know their orders would not ship before Christmas.
With three-and-a-half weeks left in the month of January, the change in estimated shipping times may not represent an outright delay, but the continued wait is yet another sign that Apple is unable to produce enough iMac units to meet customer demand.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook signaled in October that his company would face a "significant shortage" of iMacs in the December quarter. And analyst Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities said in August that the new screen lamination process used in building the new iMacs is particularly difficult with the larger 27-inch model.
Early January, Apple began offering its new hybrid Fusion Drive on entry-level 21.5-inch iMac orders. Previously, that option was limited to the 27-inch model and high-end versions of the 21.5-inch model.
Updated Jan 10:
Apple is still facing manufacturing issues with its new big-screen 27-inch iMac, though a report claims the issue could start to improve in February.
Citing industry sources, hit-or-miss DigiTimes reported on Thursday that mass production issues can be pinned on iMac panel supplier LG Display. The problem apparently stems from full lamination issues in producing the panels.
Apple and LG are only able to produce about 100,000 units a month, according to the report. The issues do not apparently apply to the 21.5-inch iMac, which has reached monthly shipments of between 300,000 and 400,000.
AppleInsider previously noted January 14 that Apple's iMacs remain in short supply more than a month after the new all-in-one desktop launched. In fact, Apple's reseller channel remains completely out of stock of the 21.5-inch model.
Update February 5:
Estimated shipping times for Apple's thinner iMac continue to slip, as the 27-inch model is now advertised to arrive in Europe in 4 to 6 weeks, while the 21.5-inch model has been delayed to between 3 and 4 weeks.
The delays apply to both iMac models, as the 21.5-inch variety was previously advertised to ship in 2 to 3 weeks, while the 27-inch model was available in 3 to 4 weeks. News of the delays surfacing in France were first reported on Monday by MacGeneration.
The delays do not yet affect Apple's U.S. online store, though if recent trends are any indication, the new estimated shipping times will be reflected in the company's American store in due time.
Shipping times for the smaller 21.5-inch model also began slipping late last month to between 2 and 3 weeks. The updates to Apple's European online stores on Monday suggest that the company continues to see production problems with its redesigned iMac.
Those problems have persisted since the new iMacs first went on sale in December. In the holiday quarter, Apple's Mac sales dropped 17 percent, a decrease the company attributed to severe constraints on the new, thinner iMacs.
Continued setbacks for the iMac also cast into doubt a recent rumor that claimed Apple's suppliers had solved their production problems. However, some 21.5- and 27-inch iMac units did begin trickling into Apple's reseller channels last week.
Without knowing where you are, I found my new iMac by callilng all the Apple Stores in my area every day until I found the one that I wanted.
I do have an advantage. There's at least 20 Apple Stores within a one hour drive from me. I found mine in one afternoon, set up exactly how I wanted. By the time I got there, the remaining 5 27" iMacs were walking out the door along with mine. This was better than waiting the 5 weeks that was the approximate time online.
I think you just have to be patient.