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Demand, and possibly quality issues, have caused Apple to delay shipments of the bestselling new 27-inch iMac (right) 3 weeks.  (Source: Apple)
Delay puts a damper on the best-selling desktop

The new Apple iMacs, released in October 2009 have been much maligned for quality control issues, including broken screens, failure to boot, graphical glitches, and, most recently, yellowed screens.  However, it's important to note that they've also been a terrific sales success story for Apple, topping desktop sales charts in Q4 2009.  Customers who haven't suffered problems have fallen in love with the improved hardware, seamless aluminum enclosure, and edge-to-edge glass design.

That said, Apple seems to be enduring more struggles with the popular model.  About a week ago, Apple had said that it was shipping iMacs within less than a week from the order time.  Now it says the delay on 27-inch units has been pushed to three weeks according to Apple Insider.  The 27-inch unit features a better GPU (ATI Radeon HD 4850) and offers the 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor as a customization option (these options are not available for the 21-inch unit.

Demand likely is playing a heavy factor.  Apple may also be trying to weed out "lemons" -- iMacs with screen yellowing that are reportedly quite abundant.  Apple in December pushed the delay window for 2 weeks, following reports of graphical issues, chiefly affecting the new 27-inch iMac.  Apple has released a patch to fix this problem, and since has been delivering on a quicker timeframe.

Those problems may actually be playing a role in the delay, in addition to the demand and yellowing issues.  Many users on the Apple's customer support forums [1] [2] say that the graphics patch did not fix their issues.

Apple is constantly trying innovative case designs and packing hardware in tight spaces, but recent issues with the MacBook Pros and iMac series have illustrated that quality issues can bedevil such unproven efforts.  Apple has not officially addressed these recent quality slippages on a whole, but its surely a major concern for the company, which has built a small, but significant market share based largely on a strong brand image.





"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer



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