updated 07:00 pm EST, Wed November 14, 2012
Apple previously warned that units would see 'significant shortage'
A rumor from French Mac enthusiast site MacBidouille has insisted that on top of Apple's previous warning that the new iMac model announced last month would see "significant shortages," manufacturing difficulties may push the debut of the thinner, optical drive-less iMac models into 2013. Currently, Apple's US website continues to list the 21.5-inch model as available later this month, with the 27-inch model coming next month.
Should the rumor turn out to be true, chances are the delay would center around Apple's new production method, dubbed "friction-stir welding." The technique, which utilizes intense heat and pressure, used to create even more seamless joins than previous techniques. Apple CEO Tim Cook had previously acknowledged in a conference call to analysts that the iMac would see "significant shortages" but did not specify why, and continued to expect that the new iMac would make its original November and December delivery dates.
Another factor that could hinder production of the iMac is the new screen lamination process, which is said to be more involved and difficult than with earlier models. The screen bonding used in the new iMac eliminates up to 2mm of thickness that had formed a "air gap" between the glass and display in previous models, reports AppleInsider. The latest model is also bereft of an optical drive, allowing the chassis to be as thin as 5mm at the edges.
These changes in manufacturing may combine to make the new iMac harder to build, with lower yields at the quality level Apple demands. Foxconn, one of the company's main manufacturing partners, has previously complained about the complexity of the manufacturing techniques used on Apple's iPhone 5.
And more likely scenario is that Apple will continue to offer iMac ordering beginning in late November, with long delivery times until supplies are more reliable. Like the initial orders of the iPhone and iPad mini, the new iMac may be severely constrained through the holiday season until buying pressure is relieved with higher manufacturing yields, which may not happen until the end of the year.