Apple may be forced to delay sales of its new iMac models, sources claim, with suggestions that the complex construction techniques the slimline all-in-ones require have presented a greater than expected challenge. In fact, Apple could well miss the holiday sales period altogether, MacBidouille's "commercial source" warns, with the new iMacs pushed back into early 2013.
According to the insider, Apple was aiming for a November 27 release for the smaller of the two iMacs, the 21.5-inch variant. However, unforeseen issues have undermined those ambitions, believed to be the friction-stir welding process that creates seamless joints between sections of the chassis.
It's that system - which combines heat and pressure to cement two aluminum surfaces together - which helps the iMac be so thin, but raises challenges of its own being a construction technology never previously used in computer manufacture.
Apple's choice of display, optically-laminating the top glass to the LCD IPS panel itself, is also believed to be proving a bottleneck. While the technique is increasingly being used for smartphones and tablets, reducing bulk as well as improving picture quality, it's less common at the sizes Apple expects to use it for in the iMac.
As of writing, Apple still lists a November release for the 21.5-inch iMac, and December for the 27-inch iMac. Neither machine is up for preorder at present, though Apple has confirmed prices will start from $1,299 for the smaller model and from $1,799 for the larger.