Is Apple’s iMac Worth the Wait?

In short: yes, it would appear so. Despite the lengthy 3-4 week lag times, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) newest 27-inch iMac is getting rave reviews thanks to its lightning-fast processor and sleek, ultra-thin 5mm display.

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As Sanjiv Sathiah notes in his review, its thin edges “make the previous generation iMac look instantly outdated, even though the older design remains striking in isolation.” Other highlights include reduced glare now that there’s no longer a gap between the glass and LCD panels, as well as deeper, more vibrant colors and an impressive new hybrid Fusion drive, which offers solid state drive performance combined with greater storage capacity.

Apple CEO Tim Cook warned at the fourth quarter earnings call on October 25 of last year that there would be a shortage of iMacs due to “significant constraints” on supplies. “For the current quarter ending in March,” Cook added, “we’ll significantly increase supply, but demand is very strong and we’re not certain we’ll achieve a balance.” KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo also expressed concerns about the difficulty level of the new screen lamination process, particularly for the larger model…

Sure enough, when the new 21.5 and 27-inch iMacs first went on sale November 30, the latter initially offered a ship time of 2-3 weeks but increased to 3-4 weeks within hours. In early December, Apple more vaguely informed customers that they could expect their new computers sometime in January.

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Apple sold 4.1 million Macs last quarter, down from the previous year’s 5.2 million — but as Cook pointed out, these numbers were impacted by the aforementioned iMac constraints. “We know sales would have been materially higher if those constraints did not exist,” Cook said.

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