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Archive of iMac Rumors

Intel may release an update to its desktop Haswell processors in May, according to a report in TechPowerUp that cites Hermitage Akihabara as its source. The report claims Intel will launch its new processors, including its flagship Core i7-4790K, on May 10th in most markets. These next generation Haswell chips will include Intel's Z97 chipset, which provides support for faster and larger M.2 SATA Express drives.

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The new Haswell desktop processors will offer a 100 MHz bump in clock speeds and will be a direct successor to most of the chips currently used in the iMac, with the exception of the low-end 21.5-inch iMac, which uses a special i5-4570R chip enhanced with Intel's Iris 5200 integrated graphics. Intel may have a compatible replacement processor under development, but leaked information has not yet revealed this corresponding model.

These chips may lay the groundwork for an iMac refresh that Apple is planning in 2014. Apple allegedly has a low-priced iMac model in the works, claims KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a research note published this week. This less expensive model may be Apple's first major product launch in 2014 and could boost iMac shipments by up to 30 percent.
Our surveys indicate that Apple’s last iMac model, released at end-2012 with an all-new-design, shipped fewer-than-expected units in the worldwide market. We think the price was set too high and the model failed to make an impact in critical foreign markets like China. We thus think Apple may offer a budget iMac model to push shipments among non-US markets in the face of solid competition from Levono (CN), HP (US) and other rivals.
Though Intel's desktop processors may be slated for a refresh as early as next month, the timing for the release of the mobile processors used in Apple's MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are not yet known. The latest information leaked earlier this year by VR-Zone suggests low-end models of Intel's next-generation Broadwell processor may debut in Q3 2014, with the roadmap for high-end processors compatible with Apple's MacBook line still up in the air.

Speed bumped versions of the current Haswell chips in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro may appear at the end of 2014, but that release date still is uncertain at this point and would only provide a small upgrade heading into Broadwell next year.
In an extensive research note covering Apple's product roadmap for 2014, KGI Securities Ming Chi Kuo reiterated expectations that Apple is working on a ultra slim 12" MacBook Air but also revealed a new low-cost iMac in the works.


Kuo's predictions for the 12" MacBook Air match what was leaked in March from a reliable Chinese forum source. The new 12" MacBook Air will "redefine notebook user experience":

- Thinner than current models
- No fan
- Buttonless trackpad
- Higher resolution Display

Kuo first predicted this ultra thin 12" MacBook Air late last year.
We expect the unprecedented 12” model will boast both the portability of the 11” model, and productivity of the 13” model. The high resolution display will also offer the outstanding visual experience of the Retina MacBook Pro. The offering will likely be lighter and slimmer than the existing MacBook Air to further highlight ease of portability in the cloud computing era. We think the form factor will showcase a much improved clamshell structure, and that it will redefine laptop computing once again following the milestone created by the MacBook Air.
Besides the 12" MacBook Air, Kuo reiterates his earlier claim that a "low-priced" version of the iMac is coming. The new model will help compete with companies such as HP and Lenovo as well as grow market share in Asia.

The 12" MacBook Air is not expected until late 2014, while the low-cost iMac may come mid-year.
Apple is set to release a slew of new products during the third quarter of 2014 according to KGI securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo, who often provides reliable information on Apple’s product lineup.

In a 2014 product roadmap, Kuo suggests Apple will introduce its first new product of the year, a lower-cost iMac, during the second quarter. Soon after, during the third quarter, Kuo predicts Apple will introduce an upgraded iPad Air and iPad mini, followed by an iWatch in two separate sizes, and a 4.7-inch iPhone.

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An upgraded Apple TV set-top box will come somewhat later, as will the rumored 12-inch ultra slim MacBook and upgraded Retina MacBook Pros. Later, in the fourth quarter, Apple will introduce the 5.5-inch iPhone, which is said to be delayed due to issues with in-cell display technology. Along with his roadmap, Kuo also gives specific information on each of Apple’s upcoming products.

- iWatch: Kuo believes the iWatch will ship during the end of the third quarter, offering biometric functionality, integration with the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and a "fashionable appearance." As has been previously suggested, he predicts the device will come in two sizes, with a 1.3-inch and 1.5-inch flexible AMOLED display. It will also include a sapphire cover lens, biometric recognition, an NFC chip, wireless charging, a 200 to 250 mAh battery, and a slim and light design. Kuo also believes that Apple will offer the iWatch at multiple price points, with the most expensive version costing upwards of $1,000.

- iPhone 6: Supporting previous iPhone 6 rumors, Kuo believes the device will come in two sizes: 4.7 and 5.5-inches, with resolutions of 1334x750 (326ppi) and 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi), respectively. Both models will come with an A8 processor, 1GB of RAM, LTPS display panels, optical image stabilization, and Touch ID. Kuo points to a 10 to 20 percent narrower bezel, a 6.5–7.0mm thickness, metal casings, and NFC integration. Mass shipments of the 4.7-inch version are expected in September, with the 5.5-inch version shipping later. Kuo suggests that only the 64GB 5.5-inch version will use sapphire displays.

- iPad Air 2: The second-generation iPad Air is expected to adopt Touch ID, an A8 processor, and an improved camera with a resolution of eight megapixels. Kuo believes the second iPad Air could come earlier in the year than the previous iPad Air, which was released in October.

- iPad mini with Retina Display: Like the iPad Air, a new Retina mini could gain an A8 processor and Touch ID, but Kuo believes it will retain the same form factor. He also suggests that the older iPad mini with Retina display could be sold at a lower cost.

- 12.9-inch iPad Pro: Kuo believes that Apple is indeed working on a 12.9-inch iPad, but he does not expect it to be launched in 2014.

- 12-inch MacBook Air: As rumored, Apple is believed to be preparing an ultrathin MacBook Air that incorporates a touchpad without buttons and functions without a fan. It is also expected to include a higher-resolution display.

- iMac: A lower-priced iMac is believed to be on the horizon, which Kuo says could help boost iMac shipments by up to 23 percent. It could be Apple’s first product launch of the year.

- Apple TV: Apple is not expected to launch a full television set this year, but an upgraded set top box with an App Store and motion control technology is expected.

While Kuo’s predictions do include many rumors that have previously surfaced over the past several months from a variety of sources, his roadmap gives a solid overview of what we might expect from Apple in 2014. We've also broken out several of his predictions into individual posts that can be found here: iWatch, iPad, iPhone 6, MacBook Air.
mavericks_macsWith Apple's Mac lineup beginning to show signs of aging, consumers are no doubt starting to wonder when they can expect updated models to hit the market. Apple's product update cycles are in large part driven by availability of new processors, so it pays to take a look at Intel's roadmap to see what might be coming when to give Apple new options for upgrades.

The MacBook Air is currently the older of Apple's two current notebook lines (setting aside the non-Retina MacBook Pro that has been reduced to a single 13-inch model and hasn't been updated since June 2012). Apple's ultrathin notebook currently offers a choice of two low-power 15-watt Haswell chips to help achieve remarkable all-day battery life. Entry-level models include a 1.3 GHz i5-4250U chip, while higher-end models bump up to a 1.7 GHz i7-4650U processor. Both chips include Intel's "Iris 5000" integrated graphics that offers reasonable everyday performance in a power-efficient design.

According to an Intel roadmap leaked by VR-Zone [Google Translate], a successor to the current low-end chip is set to launch in the third quarter in the form of an i5-4260U Haswell refresh, presumably carrying just a small speed bump compared to the current chip. Another alternative for Apple could be the 1.4 GHz i5-4350U or its just-announced successor 1.5 GHz i5-4360U. The 4350U chip has been available since last year, but Apple elected not to use it in the current MacBook Air. The high-end MacBook Air situation is less clear, as leaked roadmaps have not yet shown a direct successor to the current i7-4650U chip.

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According to new a survey done by market research firm Parks Associates (via CNET), Apple desktops have become the most sought after desktop computers this holiday season, beating out longtime holiday desktop leader Dell and other competitors such as HP and Acer. This marks the first time that Apple products have taken the top spot in the history of the survey, as the company was ranked 3rd in the category in 2011 and 2nd in 2012. The Apple TV also remained at the top spot for the most sought after streaming media device, topping the Roku TV.

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“Apple topped the list of intended brands for desktop purchases for the first time this year,” said John Barrett, director, Consumer Analytics, Parks Associates. “In 2011 and 2012, Dell was the top desktop brand, but Apple has displaced it, making Apple now the most popular brand across even more key CE categories.”
Apple quietly updated the iMac this past September with Intel's Haswell processors and faster PCI-Express based flash storage, which followed a major design revision to the desktop in 2012 that brought a thinner and lighter design. The company also currently sells its lower-priced Mac Mini and is getting ready to launch the high-end Mac Pro sometime in December, with a German retailer stating a possible availability date of Monday, December 16.
Yesterday, Apple began offering refurbished models of the current 27-inch iMac in its online store for the first time, and while two of the three available models quickly sold out, the company is clearly working to expand availability by adding not only another 27-inch configuration but also a pair of 21.5-inch models today. The newly listed models, all of which ship in 1-5 business days, include:

- 21.5-inch iMac 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with 8 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and Intel Iris Pro graphics: $1099 ($200 savings)

late_2013_21_imac_refurb
- 21.5-inch iMac 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with 8 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M: $1269 ($230 savings)

- 27-inch iMac 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with 8 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M graphics: $1699 ($300 savings)
Apple today added three separate models of the current 27-inch iMac to its online store for refurbished products, marking their first appearance in the store since their September launch. The three models, all of which are listed as shipping in 1-5 business days, include:

- 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with 8 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M graphics: $1529 ($270 savings)

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- 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with 8 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M graphics: $1869 ($330 savings)

- 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with 8 GB RAM, 3 TB Fusion drive, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M graphics: $2289 ($410 savings)

Other configurations of the latest 27-inch iMac and all configurations of the current 21.5-inch iMac have yet to appear in Apple's refurbished store.
imac_2013_colorApple has a released a new firmware update -- iMac SMC Firmware Update 1.1 -- for the new iMacs released in September.

Simultaneously, Apple also released a supplemental update for OS X 10.8.5.
iMac SMC Firmware Update 1.1

This update is recommended for iMac (late 2013) with flash-only storage. This update improves the Power Nap feature in Mavericks on your flash based iMac by allowing it to perform silently, without spinning up the fan.

Power Nap periodically updates apps, such as Mail, Contacts, and Calendar, and will download software updates while your iMac is sleeping.

--

iMac 10.8.5 Supplemental Update 1.0

The iMac OS X v10.8.5 Supplemental Update 1.0 is recommended for iMacs (Late 2013) using NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics and running OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.5.

This update:

- Fixes an issue that may cause external drives to be ejected after the computer goes to sleep
- Fixes an issue that may prevent certain USB Bluetooth adapters from working
They aren't the first updates for the new iMacs -- when they were first released, Apple released an EFI update to address Boot Camp installation issues.

iMac SMC Firmware Update 1.1 and iMac 10.8.5 Supplemental Update 1.0 are available for download through Apple's support website or through the Mac App Store's software update mechanism.
Apple may be preparing to release a cheaper model of the iMac in 2014, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo states in a new research note. The analyst believes that sales of recent iMac models have failed to meet expectations and that Apple may look to introduce a lower-cost option in order to bolster sales in critical foreign markets.imac_family_2013
Our surveys indicate that Apple’s last iMac model, released at end-2012 with an all-new-design, shipped fewer-than-expected units in the worldwide market. We think the price was set too high and the model failed to make an impact in critical foreign markets like China. We thus think Apple may offer a budget iMac model to push shipments among non-US markets in the face of solid competition from Levono (CN), HP (US) and other rivals.

We are optimistic that a budget iMac would boost overall iMac shipments to grow 10-20% YoY in 2014.
After a major redesign last year, the iMac was given a surprise refresh last month as Apple updated the line of desktops based on Intel's Haswell processors, faster PCI Express-based flash storage options, and new 802.11ac Wi-Fi capabilities. Currently, the entry-level iMac 21.5 inch iMac starts at $1,299, while the 27-inch iMac starts $1,799. Both models are $100 more expensive than the previous generation iMacs, which debuted in 2011.
Last month, we revived our Roundups feature with new pages covering the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iOS 7, and Apple's rumored iWatch, offering a frequently updated one-page summary of the latest news and rumors about each product.

With the new iPhones and iOS 7 now launched, we're continuing to update those articles with information to help site visitors stay on top of the latest developments, but we're also launching a number of new roundups today to address Apple's upcoming iPad and Mac product launches expected over the next several months.

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New roundups include:

- iPad 5
- iPad mini 2
- MacBook Pro
- Mac Pro
- iMac
- Mac mini

As with the original set of iPhone and iOS roundups, the goal of each of the new roundups is to simply answer the question of "What are you expecting" for any given product. That opinion is certain to change over time as new rumors are revealed, and the roundups will be updated regularly to reflect that. Roundups for recently updated products will also include details on the new models to help bring visitors up to speed on what they have to offer.

Our roundup index page continues to include a full list of our available roundups ordered by most recently updated. Roundups are also accessible directly through the "Roundups" tab in the navigation bar on all MacRumors pages. We will continue to update the existing roundups and add new ones for other products over time.
imac_2013_colorFollowing today's launch of updated iMacs, Apple has released an iMac (late 2013) EFI Update 2.1 for the new machines.
This update is recommended for iMac (late 2013) models. This update addresses an issue which may cause a black screen to appear when installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 using Boot Camp Assistant if both an external optical drive and USB thumb drive are connected to the system. This update also ensures that the system will boot by default into OS X after installation of Windows 8.
The 8.7 MB update requires OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.4 (12E4022) or later, suggesting that at least some new iMacs may need to be updated with the current OS X 10.8.5 upon delivery.

Apple's new iMacs include Intel's latest Haswell processors, improved graphics, faster PCI Express-based flash storage options, and the support for the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard making its way into the company's Mac products. The 21.5-inch model begins at $1299, with the 27-inch model starting at $1799.
In something of a surprise move, Apple today announced the launch of updated iMacs based on Intel's Haswell processors, faster PCI Express-based flash storage options, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
“iMac continues to be the example that proves how beautiful, fast and fun a desktop computer can be,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Inside its ultra-thin aluminum enclosure, the new iMac has the latest Intel processors, faster graphics, next generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi and faster PCIe flash storage.”
New models include:

21.5-inch
- $1299: 2.7 GHz quad-core i5 and Intel Iris Pro graphics
- $1499: 2.9 GHz quad-core Intel i5 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 1 GB video memory

27-inch
- $1799: 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M with 1 GB video memory
- $1999: 3.4 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M with 2 GB video memory

All standard configurations come with 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB traditional hard drive.

imac_2013_specs
Build-to-order options include a 3.1 GHz Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM on the 21.5-inch model and a 3.5 GHz Core i7 processor and up to 32 GB of RAM on the 27-inch model. Storage options of up to 3 TB traditional hard drive, 3 TB Fusion Drive, and 1 TB flash storage are also available depending on model. The high-end 27-inch model also has an available graphics upgrade to NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 780M with 4GB of GDDR5 memory.

The new iMac is available today through Apple's online store with all standard configurations with the exception of the high-end 21.5-inch model showing availability of "within 24 hours". The high-end 21.5-inch model is currently showing a shipping estimate of 2-3 weeks.
Major third-party Mac retailers such as B&H and Amazon have begun offering discounts on various iMac configurations in recent days as Apple may be beginning to slow shipments of the computer in advance of a refresh featuring Intel’s Haswell processors, reports AppleInsider. The company seems to be slowing the flow of iMac units coming into its various sales channels as the next-generation iMac will likely be announced later in the fall after its September iPhone media event to allow Apple, its customers, and the media to focus on its flagship mobile device.

newimac.jpg
The discounts join sales efforts initiated earlier this month by Best Buy, Amazon, and MacMall -- all of which are similarly offering the four standard iMac retail configurations at discounts between $100 and $150. Given the new inventory management measures Apple adopted after January's MacBook Pro surplus scare, the discounts are likely the start of a multi-week effort to run its iMac channel fairly bare.
Previous reports indicated that the iMac would be updated to include Haswell processors in June or July as shipments sank, but an update to the computer was not announced at or soon after Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference.

Earlier this year, a new Broadcom Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card supporting the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard surfaced, with the card appearing nearly identical in size and shape to the custom card currently used in the iMac. The inclusion of 802.11ac support on the next-generation iMac is all but certain as the standard has already made its way into Apple's latest MacBook Air models and new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule base stations.

Yesterday, a report surfaced that refreshed MacBook Pro models with Haswell chips would be coming in September, backed by evidence that Apple vendors may be trying to run down existing MacBook Pro stock. Data from U.S. research firm NPD released last month also indicated that U.S. Mac sales were down in June compared to the previous June, despite the introduction of the new MacBook Airs, with the lack of a refreshed MacBook Pro lineup cited as a primary contributing cause.
Apple has launched a replacement program for the graphics card in some mid–2011 iMac configurations, reports 9to5Mac. According to a note sent to Apple Support employees, the AMD Radeon HD 6970 video cards in some 27-inch May 2011 iMacs have experienced issues, causing them to fail.

graphicsglitch
Apple has determined that some AMD Radeon HD 6970M video cards used in 27-inch iMac computers with 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 or 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processors may fail, causing the computer’s display to appear distorted, white or blue with vertical lines, or to turn black. iMac computers with affected video cards were sold between May 2011 and October 2012.
The affected iMacs contain serial numbers with the last four characters of DHJQ, DHJW, DL8Q, DNGH, DNJ9, DMW8, DPM1, DPM2, DPNV, DNY0, DRVP, DY6F, or F610. The errors have been previously noted on both the MacRumors forums and the Apple Support forums.

Apple will replace the graphics card of affected iMacs with the aforementioned serial numbers at no cost for up to three years from the date that the computer was purchased, which makes early adopters eligible until May 2014.

Replacements can be initiated through AppleCare, the Genius Bar, or Apple Authorized Resellers and iMac users that paid to have the graphics card replaced are also eligible for a refund.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a brief research note today highlighting the status of the iMac, which he says will see shipments fall to roughly 650,000 units this quarter from 1.75 million units in the first calendar quarter. The drop is due in part to seasonality and in part to a natural decline from the pent-up launch demand during the first quarter. Most importantly for potential iMac customers, Kuo believes an iMac update that will bring Intel's new Haswell processors to the line is coming in June or July.
We attribute the shipments decline to the fact that new product shipments have peaked and due to the arrival of the consumer slow season. But we believe iMac shipments troughed in 2Q13. Apple is expected to upgrade iMac processor to Intel’s (US) latest Haswell processor in June or July. Meanwhile, the consumer peak season has arrived. Thus we expect shipments to reach 1.1mn units in 3Q13, up 69% QoQ. Full-year shipments are forecast to be 4.7mn units, up 31% YoY.
Kuo has been relatively accurate with his predictions over the past several years, and thus his information is closely watched. Today's prediction does, however, mark a shift from a roadmap published by Kuo in January in which he estimated that updated iMacs would arrive around the beginning of the fourth quarter.

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Despite the arrival of Kuo's note coming just before the keynote of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, there has been no evidence that the company is planning to launch the updated iMacs at the event. Given that Apple just redesigned the iMac late last year, it will very likely maintain that same design for the next generation, making it a relatively standard update that Apple could simply launch without holding a keynote or dedicated media event to announce it.

Just last month, a Wi-Fi card essentially identical in shape and connectivity to the card currently used in the iMac surfaced, with the new card supporting the faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. Apple has been rumored to be bringing the standard to its Mac lineup this year, perhaps as soon as today with any hardware announcements it may make.
Tonymacx86 points (via 9to5Mac) to recently discovered photos of a Broadcom BCM94360CD Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card that supports the 802.11ac "Gigabit Wi-Fi" standard rumored to be coming to Apple's Mac lineup later this year. While the photos were posted to Chinese site VR-Zone in early March, they are only just now being noticed by those following Apple rumors.

bcm94360_1
While the reports suggest that the new card is intended for the next-generation MacBook Pro or MacBook Air models rumored for launch at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), a commenter on the Tonymacx86 discussion thread points out that the card is actually nearly identical in size, shape, and layout to the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card found in the current iMac.

bcm94360_2
The BCM94360CD card, which is very likely a custom design for Apple, contains Broadcom's BCM4360 802.11ac transceiver chip, offering support for the in-process Wi-Fi standard that allows for triple the speeds of the current 802.11n standard. An apparent date code of "1240" on the part suggests that it was manufactured in early October 2012, several months before Apple was reported to have struck a deal with Broadcom to bring 802.11ac support to its 2013 Macs.

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Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card from Late 2012 iMac (Source: iFixit)
Apple has added new storage options to its iMac lineup, allowing users to choose either a 256 GB or 512 GB flash storage drive as part of the order customization process. The new options are available as $300 and $600 surcharges respectively to replace the 1 TB traditional hard drive that is standard across all iMac models.

imac_256_512_flash
Previously, the 21.5-inch iMac had not been available with dedicated flash storage options, only offering the standard 1 TB traditional hard drive and a $250 Fusion Drive option. Apple's Fusion Drive marries a 128 GB flash drive with a 1 TB traditional hard drive to seamlessly provide fast access to most-used files while also offering relatively cheap mass storage for the remainder of the user's storage needs. Those options remain available, but for those looking for an all-flash storage solution, Apple is now offering that in 256 and 512 GB capacities.

For the 27-inch iMac, Apple did previously offer an all-flash storage solution, but only as a 768 GB drive carrying a $900 upgrade fee. The 27-inch iMac is also available with 1 TB and 3 TB traditional hard drive options, with each of those also available in a Fusion Drive configuration. But with the addition of 256 GB and 512 GB flash options, Apple is now offering users who do not need massive amounts of storage the ability to maximize speed on their machines.

(Thanks, Steve!)
Digitimes reports that Apple has essentially halted all component orders for its Mac product lines, apparently working through significant inventories of components delivered during an aggressive ramp-up late last year that may have proven overly aggressive.
The suppliers originally expected to finish digesting their Mac inventories in April, but are now stranded waiting for further instructions from Apple.

The sources revealed that Apple's Mac orders to the supply chain dropped to almost nothing after the Lunar New Year holidays. Apple had high hopes for its Mac product lines and placed aggressive orders at the end of 2012; however, the company is now badly affected by the decision.
The report claims that Apple generally provides shipment forecasts to its supply chain partners at the beginning of each quarter, but the company has not done so for the second quarter. The lack of information has reportedly left suppliers wondering when they will be able to resume production.

Just last week, Digitimes claimed that Apple is likely to refresh its notebook lineup at the end of the second quarter, so it seems that suppliers may need to start ramping up production for new models in the relatively near future.

mac_lineup_early2013
Apple frequently has to juggle its supply chain as it approaches product updates, seeking to accurately estimate consumer demand in order to deplete its existing inventories just as the new models are released. But if today's report is true, it seems that Apple may have overestimated customer demand for the early part of 2013 and is now finding itself with substantial inventories heading into its next round of product updates.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has also warned about reading too much into rumors from Apple's supply chain, noting that its "very complex" nature makes it difficult to accurately interpret what is actually going on from limited data points, even if that data is accurate.
Apple today began offering refurbished models of the current-generation 27-inch iMac for the first time, roughly four months after the models initially launched.

The two stock configurations of the 27-inch iMac are currently available at 15% discounts compared to brand-new units, with the low-end refurbished model priced at $1529 vs. $1799 new and the high-end refurbished model priced at $1699 vs. $1999 new. Several higher-priced custom configurations are also currently available as refurbished units, with all refurbished models listed as shipping in 1-3 business days.

refurbished_imac_27_2012
The addition of refurbished 27-inch models comes nearly two months after Apple began offering refurbished 21.5-inch models, with supplies having remained tight for a number of months due to issues related to the thinner design of the new iMac. Apple is using a new lamination process for the display to achieve a thinner and more vivid screen, and that process reportedly was resulting in low yields, particularly for the larger 27-inch models.

Availability of the new iMacs improved markedly in early March, with shipping estimates for new orders of all stock configurations improving to "within 24 hours" at that time.
As noted by 9to5Mac, Apple yesterday added the latest iMac to its Employee Purchase Program, supporting earlier suggestions that production constraints have now eased.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook had warned in a January analyst call that iMac shipments would be constrained through Q1, but improving shipping estimates and the company's decision to allow employees to purchase them at a discount suggests that the issue has now ended.

Current and retired Apple employees are allowed to buy Apple products for personal use at a 25% discount, and last year Apple added an additional layer to the program by offering employees $500 off the purchase of a Mac once every three years, on top of the 25% discount.