The $2999 iMac showed the delay on Apple’s online stores for Australia, the US, the UK, China, France, Germany and other countries. The new ship time was an increase from the five-to-seven business day lag of three weeks ago.
Apple introduced the 5K Retina iMac on 16 October to effusive reviews. The day after Apple started selling the new iMac, its online store extended the shipping delay from one-to-two business days to three-to-five business days.
It was unclear when the latest increase hit the online store, although cached examples of the 5K Retina iMac’s ordering page showed the longer delays earlier this week.
While the shortage may be due to heavy demand, it’s more likely a lack of supply, with Apple prioritising allocations to its retail stores and some resellers over that of its own online market. Most analysts have argued that because of its price, the 5K Retina iMac will appeal to a small pool of buyers, including professional creatives, such as photographers, video editors and graphics designers, and those who previously had leaned toward the cylindrical Mac Pro workstation, such as developers and engineers.
Apple has a history of launching products into instant delays. Last year’s December debut of the redesigned Mac Pro was the most egregious, with ship times taking months to drop from weeks to days. The company also botched the rollout of the iMac in 2012, when it refreshed the design but then had almost none to sell for months. That gaffe resulted in an unusual admission by CEO Tim Cook that the company had launched too early.
The iPhone 6 Plus, which went on sale 19 September, also remains on a lengthy back order. As of today the 5.5in smartphone’s ship time stood at three-to-four weeks.
It’s most likely that the iMac’s 5120-by-2880-pixel display is at the root of the shortage. NPD DisplaySearch has, for instance, said that tight supplies of TFT displays would relax only in 2015.