Print 66 comment(s) - last by KoolAidMan1.. on Jan 26 at 7:09 PM

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.

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RE: Wow
By ralniv on 1/21/2010 2:33:18 PM , Rating: 0
In Apple's defense, you are missing a few key cost elements in your parts list. This is a common mistake made by people espousing the value of PC vs. Mac. You can also do the same parts list game on Dell and come to the conclusion that you can get more hardware for the same $ when you build it yourself. Apple offers a few things that are not included in your home brewed PC or a Dell for that matter...

1. Premium Chasis -- Apple arguably makes the best looking "cases". A good case on Newegg costs >$100 (and doesn't include a power supply; add another $100 for that)
2. Premium Software (iLife) -- Yeah, I know you can get free software to manage images & videos, but it lacks the integration and ease of use of iLife. Value = $100
3. Premium Display -- Apple makes divine displays. Nice to look at when on or off. You'll need a good 27" display to match Apple and those cost $400.
4. Compactness -- There is value in Apple's integrated computer/display. Lots of engineering effort (expense) goes into making it compact, yet quiet and cool running.

Factor in all of that mess and you end up with Apple charging a healthy premium over home built and perhaps a modest premium over Dell.

Reliability is another point to make. Just check Consumer Reports and you'll find the top spot in most categories occupied by Apple.

FWIW, I have a home brewed PC (Win7 for games, OS X for everything else), a 15" MacBook Pro for mobile use, a Mac Mini for the kids, and a Dell laptop for work. I'm on all sides of this debate and I do see the value in Apple's integrated (h/w and s/w) package, but I hate paying that premium price.

RE: Wow
By bearxor on 1/21/2010 3:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
Among other things:
Built in 802.11 a/b/g/n wifi?
Bluetooth Keyboard/Mouse?

Thats at least another $100 there.

Also in comparisons, you never see anyone mention a copy of Windows. Tack on another $280 for a copy of Win7 Pro (Remember, OEM is technically for resellers).

Is a Mac more expensive? Sure. Is it tragically overpriced for what you get in the box IF YOU WANT WHAT COMES IN THE BOX? No, not really.

RE: Wow
By Smilin on 1/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: Wow
By Calin on 1/22/2010 2:26:08 AM , Rating: 1
"I build my own machine which requires knowledge that many Mac users don't have. "
Many PC users don't have that knowledge, so there is value in already-built Windows-based computers.

Also, Apple gives you decent software for the price (that software might be worth nothing to _you_, but still.
As for your upgrades, you can't put any video card in a Mac with OS X, so the value for games is close to zero.

Based on your responses to the four points, it is clear you are not a part of the 5% market share that buy Macs - but you're also not a part of the 90% market share that buy preconfigured PC

RE: Wow
By Smilin on 1/22/2010 2:27:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'm also in that 90% market as well.

I build my main box but I also have a HP laptop.

My dad has a Macbook Pro that he picked up a few months back. He paid some 2-2.5k for it. My laptop was purchased prior to that and has more memory, faster CPU (double the cores and higher clockspeed), and I believe the same or slightly better video card, same screen size and res, and a blue ray drive.

I paid ~1.3-1.4k for mine. He's got better battery life and lighter weight but just like me he basically uses it as a portable desktop so the benefits are useless. He also had to fork over for Windows XP so he could play games and is now doing so again for Windows 7.

RE: Wow
By xpax on 1/21/2010 5:47:38 PM , Rating: 2
1. You can get a good case for $100 that includes the power supply -- and if you think that iMac has a power supply worth $100 in it, you're sorely mistaken. A machine like that doesn't need 750 watts or more.
2. Your definition of "premium" doesn't ring true to me. iLife contains nothing that would compel me to value it at $100. But admittedly, this one is the most subjective of your points. It may be worth the Apple tax to you.
3. I think I could get a better display for $300. The ones I've looked at aren't yellow or cracked. But maybe that's the "premium" angle you're pushing. Also, what's the use when the machine includes a low-end GPU?
4. It could be argued there is value in this, but when you take into account the inability to repair or upgrade the unit without manufacturer intervention, the result is at best a wash.

When it comes to reliability, Apple is fourth behind ASUS, Sony and Toshiba (at least in laptops -- and with the subject of the article above, I'd be slightly more than hesitant to push the reliability argument for desktops);

Those numbers come from somewhere more reliable than even Consumer Reports - SquareTrade. As a company that sells extended warranties on various products, they do a thorough actuarial analysis to determine the risks involved and thus the price to charge for said warranties.

RE: Wow
By BZDTemp on 1/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: Wow
By harshw on 1/22/2010 8:25:33 AM , Rating: 2
That display is 30 bit color, CCFL backlit to give you 102% gamut (the Mac has only 72% gamut) and has an internal hardware scaler + a host of inputs.

Anyone thinking of using a 27" iMac for professional color design isn't really into professional color design :)

RE: Wow
By BZDTemp on 1/22/2010 12:27:05 PM , Rating: 1
I never claimed they were the same or that the Mac is for pro color design.

Once again it is Apple and oranges :-)

RE: Wow
By KoolAidMan1 on 1/22/2010 6:09:56 PM , Rating: 2
Its funny you say this, wide color gamut is a serious bummer on the Dell from a pro standpoint. The 12bit LUT is the only thing keeping that monitor viable for color work since you can then do a conversion back to sRGB gamut (aka - 72% NTSC).

Whoever does any work on it needs to do calibration and brings it back into proper color space if they're doing any sort of design work.

RE: Wow
By KoolAidMan1 on 1/22/2010 6:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
Boy, I like Anandtech's reviews a lot but I really don't know what to think of the author's opinion after reading his feedback in the comments section:

"Again, I'm not sure how having a wider gamut is supposed to oversaturate colors. Just because a display has a potentially wider gamut doesn't mean you have to use it. Oversaturated reds and blues is a calibration problem, not something inherently wrong with having a higher gamut."


RE: Wow
By Smilin on 1/26/2010 3:05:15 PM , Rating: 2
You're going to have to explain your distaste. I don't follow myself.

RE: Wow
By KoolAidMan1 on 1/22/2010 6:13:22 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely, its like comparing an ATX desktop with a notebook, it makes no sense. All-in-ones are a completely different beast, total custom engineering in the same way that notebooks are.

No, you compare the iMac with the Dell XPS One or any of HP's all-in-ones. The iMacs have faster CPUs, faster GPUs, more hard drive storage, and significantly better displays (IPS versus *VA or TN) for the same price or even less, which was the case with the prior 24" iMacs versus the 24" XPS One.

RE: Wow
By KoolAidMan1 on 1/22/2010 5:48:58 PM , Rating: 2
3. Premium Display -- Apple makes divine displays. Nice to look at when on or off. You'll need a good 27" display to match Apple and those cost $400.

Its actually way more than that. The 24" H-IPS display in the prior 24" iMac was for years only found in the $1200 NEC 2490WUXi. The iMac's 27" as of yesterday is also found in Dell's new $1100 LCD, which is CCFL backlit and not LED backlit like the iMac. NEC will come out with their 27" soon and it will cost more than the Dell, I reckon between $1200-$1500, and it will probably be the benchmark for quality with that specific panel.

So yeah, you underestimate the cost to get the same display quality you get with an iMac. It is arguably the biggest value in the whole iMac package.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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