Archive of iMac Rumors

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
As noticed by Macworld UK, Apple today introduced a new configuration option for its 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs, allowing customers to choose a VESA mount adapter instead of the standard foot. The $40 option allows users to mount their iMacs to walls or other vertical surfaces, but must be configured at the time of purchase.
The iMac with Built-in VESA Mount Adapter is ready to pair with your favorite VESA-compatible wall mount, desk mount, or articulating arm (sold separately). This iMac doesn't include a stand, so a mount is required. If you don't already have a mount, you can purchase one when you configure your iMac.
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Apple is currently quoting shipping estimates of 7-10 business days for VESA-equipped iMacs, compared to immediate availability for standard models.
Apple appears to have quietly introduced an updated version of its low-end 21.5-inch iMac for educational institutions, taking advantage of a cheaper dual-core Intel Core i3 processor and integrated graphics to offer pricing of $1099, $200 cheaper than the entry-level pricing for consumer models. The education-only iMac, which carries a model number of ME699LL/A, also includes just 4GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive, while the low-end consumer model doubles both of those figures.
iMac 21.5-inch: 3.3GHz Dual-core Intel Core i3 (Education only model)
Product Number : ME699LL/A

- 3.3GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i3
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 4GB (two 2GB) memory
- 500GB hard drive
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
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It is unclear exactly when Apple began offering the new iMac for educational institutions, but it appears to be a very recent addition to Apple's lineup. The machine replaces the previous $999 iMac for educational institutions introduced over 18 months ago and is positioned to appeal to budget-conscious schools.

Potential customers should note that the $1099 iMac is only available for purchase by educational institutions and is not available to individuals making purchases through Apple's educational discount program. Orders are currently quoted as shipping in 5-7 business days, slightly longer than the 3-5 day estimates for other models through the Apple Store for Educational Institutions.

Consumer models of the iMac ordered through the regular online store in North America just saw their shipping estimates improve to "within 24 hours" earlier today. Apple has also lowered pricing on the 768 GB flash storage upgrade on the 27-inch Mac, dropping the upgrade charge from $1300 to $900.
Just days after experiencing a dramatic improvement in shipping times for new orders through Apple's online stores in North America, the iMac has seen its availability improve once again with stock configurations now shipping "within 24 hours". The rapid improvement in availability indicates that Apple is quickly reaching supply-demand balance for the new iMac some three months after its debut.

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Apple's online stores in other countries still show some lag in availability, with Australia seeing quotes of 3-5 business days for all models while Europe is generally seeing 5-7 business days for 21.5-inch models and 1-2 weeks for 27-inch models.

Even in the countries such as the United States and Canada where stock configurations are being quoted nearly immediate availability, build-to-order configurations are still seeing rather lengthy build times with quotes of 7-10 business days. The disparity suggests that Apple has been prioritizing the building of stock configurations in an effort to fill distribution channels, with custom orders holding lower priority.

Simple build-to-order customizations such as the addition of RAM or a different hard drive typically only add a few days to shipping estimates, so the current quoted timeframes should drop as availability continues to improve. Likewise, Apple's international online stores should also see their availability improve as increased stock filters throughout the company's distribution channels.
Shipping estimates for new orders of the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac dramatically improved today, with both models now shipping in 1–3 days from the online Apple Stores in Canada and the United States.

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In January, shipping times for the 21.5-inch iMac slipped to 2–3 weeks, and the 27-inch iMac has been in short supply since its November release. The supply shortage has been attributed to issues with display production resulting from a new lamination process.

During Apple's first quarter financial call, Tim Cook noted that iMac supply constraints in the fourth quarter had impacted sales results. He expected supplies to increase during Q1 2013, which was confirmed in late January with a report that assembly rates for the iMac had been improved.

Apple's redesigned iMac is considerably thinner than its predecessor, with 40 percent less volume and a 5mm edge. The newly implemented lamination process provides improved optical quality and an anti-reflective coating.

Update: As noted by MacRumors forum members, changing the base configuration of the iMac results in a shipping time of 2-3 weeks.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster today issued a new research report sharing data from research firm NPD covering Apple's U.S. Mac sales for the month of January. According to NPD's data, Mac sales were up a strong 31% year-over-year for the month.

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Munster attributes the strong performance to Apple finally being able to roll out orders of the new iMac, even as the company remains significantly constrained with multi-week waits for new orders through its online stores. Apple announced the new iMac in late October of last year, but did not begin taking orders until the end of the November with the larger 27-inch models not arriving until several weeks later.
We have analyzed domestic NPD retail data for the month of January which suggests Mac sales were up 31% y/y through the first month of the March quarter. We believe the reason for the significant improvement in the sales data is primarily due to Apple catching up with iMac supply, which the company noted to be constrained in the December quarter. CEO Tim Cook noted that iMac sales were down 700k units y/y in December (we note iMac sales are likely far less impacted by iPad, thus the vast majority of the y/ y unit decline is likely supply).
It remains to be seen if the strong sales will hold up for the remainder of the quarter, and thus Piper Jaffray is maintaining its estimate of a 5% year-over-year decline for the full quarter when global sales are considered.

NPD's data also reveals a bit of a surprise for the iPod, showing U.S. unit sales up 3% year-over-year and revenue up 2%. Piper Jaffray has been modeling for a 17% decline in total iPod sales for the quarter as the device continues to lose favor with consumers shifting music consumption to smartphones. But even a strong showing for the iPod is unlikely to have a significant impact on Apple's bottom line, as the line represented just 4% of Apple's sales in the holiday quarter, typically the strongest one for iPod sales.
Recent production problems with the 2012 iMac have largely been solved, suggesting that supply constraints may ease, according to a report from China Times, summarized by BrightWire.
- [T]he company's Taiwanese component suppliers noted that the assembling conformity rate for the new iMac has been improved and mass production started in December 2012. Sales of the device may be boosted in 1Q 2013.

- As new products will usually see orders peak within the first four months after they are launched, the shipments of the new iMac are expected to remain stable through 1Q 2013.


Apple CEO Tim Cook noted in last week's analyst call that iMac shipments would remain constrained through Q1, with the company giving this as a large part of the reason for selling 1.1 million fewer Macs in Q4 2012 compared to Q4 2011.

Currently 27-inch iMacs are showing delivery times of 3-4 weeks, with 21.5-inch models showing 2-3 weeks.
Shipping estimates for new orders of 21.5-inch iMac models began slipping in Apple's online stores in many European countries such as the United Kingdom today, moving from 7-10 business days to 2-3 weeks. The changes have not yet propagated to stores for other regions.


Estimates for the 21.5-inch models had remained steady at 7-10 business days since just after they became available for sale late last year. Apple has also been quoting even longer estimates for the 27-inch models, which are reportedly seeing more significant issues with display production due to a new lamination process. Estimates for new 27-inch iMac orders remain at 3-4 weeks for the time being, essentially in line with their status since just after pre-orders went live.

(Thanks, Neil!)
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a very good track record in predicting Apple's product plans, has issued a new research report outlining his expectations for Apple's 2013 product launches. Kuo believes that Apple will focus its launches on the third quarter of this year, with a number of updates throughout the company's various product families.


- iPhone: Kuo expects that Apple will introduce both an iPhone 5S and a revamped iPhone 5 around June or July of this year, with the iPhone 5S appearing very similar to the current iPhone 5 but carrying a number of upgrades including an A7 system-on-a-chip for better performance, a fingerprint sensor, and camera improvements such as an f2.0 aperture and a smart LED flash. He also believes that the lower-cost iPhone will in many ways simply be an iPhone 5 repackaged into a slightly thicker (8.2 mm vs. the current 7.6 mm) plastic enclosure available in six colors.


- iPad and iPad mini: Kuo forecasts that Apple will update both lines during the third quarter of the year, with the iPad mini gaining a Retina display as the most notable change. He also predicts that the full-size iPad will become considerably slimmer and lighter and adopt the thinner side bezels seen on the iPad mini.

- MacBook Pro: In line with his predictions from last year, Kuo believes that Apple will do away with the non-Retina MacBook Pro line in 2013, moving to an all-Retina lineup at cheaper price points than the current Retina models. Kuo also believes that Apple will tweak the design of these thinner Retina MacBook Pros, despite having just introduced the current form factor last year.

- MacBook Air: Retina displays remain a challenge for the MacBook Air given their relative thickness, and Kuo predicts that they will not be appearing in the 2013 MacBook Air lineup. Kuo believes that a move to Intel's forthcoming Haswell platform will be the main upgrade for the machines, with the update coming perhaps as soon as late in the second quarter.

- Desktops: Kuo notes that the iMac redesign has been well-received, but it appears that he does not see Retina displays coming to the lineup in 2013. He simply predicts a shift to the Haswell platform for the iMac and Mac mini in the fourth quarter of the year. Kuo's report does not address a new Mac Pro, even though Apple CEO Tim Cook had personally shared that a significant update for the line was due in 2013.

- iPod touch: Apple will reportedly discontinue the fourth-generation iPod touch, which is currently being sold alongside the new fifth-generation models. In order to fill the gap, Kuo believes that Apple will introduce a scaled-back fifth-generation model with 8 GB of storage and no rear camera at $199.

- Apple TV: Kuo predicts a minor update to the existing Apple TV product as soon as late this quarter, but he offers no details on what the update would entail. He also notes that Apple's more substantial television effort is unlikely to appear in 2013, with content issues and a lack of experience in the television set industry pushing things back until 2014.