Apple fans waiting anxiously for the launch of Apple’s new iMacs may not have long to wait, according to sources speaking with 9to5Mac Monday. This new information contradicts reports from French site MacBidouille last week that the redesigned all-in-one desktop would be delayed until early 2013 due to manufacturing difficulties.
Apple unveiled the new iMacs at its iPad mini media event in late October. While sharing the same basic design as its predecessor, Apple has incorporated several key changes, including an ultra-thin edge display, the removal of the optical drive, and new solid state and “Fusion Drive” storage options.
Two design changes that enabled Apple to reduce the thickness and weight of the iMac are friction-stir welding and full screen lamination. Both are advanced techniques that are relatively new to consumer electronics manufacturing and have reportedly caused unforeseen difficulties in meeting production targets.
At their unveiling, Apple stated that the 21.5-inch model was scheduled to ship in November, with the 27-inch model following in December. But during Apple’s fourth quarter earnings call, held the day after the media event, Apple CEO Tim Cook cautioned the market about the availability of the new iMacs:
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 manufacturer and ramp those, and I expect the demand to be robust. So we will have a significant shortage there.
Mr. Cook’s prediction of supply constraints may well hold true, but concerns about a full scale delay appear to be unfounded. Sources speaking with 9to5Mac and AllThingsD Monday both confirm that Apple is set to meet the original November and December availability targets, with 9to5Mac further indicating that the U.S. will have an adequate supply of the units and that major shortages will only be felt internationally at first.
With November winding down, the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday occurring this week, and the “Black Friday” shopping frenzy this Friday, it would not be surprising to see Apple release the 21.5-inch model early this week, likely Tuesday.