Unreleased 2012 iMac Incurs New Manufacturing Problems

Shipping potentially pushed to next year, according to insiders

The manufacturing processes employed by Apple for its new-generation iMac computers are proving to be more difficult to manage than initially estimated. The Cupertino company is facing new delays, which may postpone shipping until next year.

This according to French site MacBidouille (Google translation), which claims to have heard “from a commercial source” that Apple is incurring yet “more problems […] because of the new manufacturing process” required to assemble the all-in-one computer.

Apple is using “friction-stir welding” to make the screen thinner and more robust, as well as a new lamination process that aims to decrease glare and improve image quality.

“Redesigned from the inside out, the new iMac packs high-performance technology into an aluminum and glass enclosure with up to 40 percent less volume than its predecessor and an edge that measures just 5 mm thin,” Apple said in October, soon after the official launch of the new computer.

“In the new design, the cover glass is fully laminated to the LCD and an anti-reflective coating is applied using a high-precision plasma deposition process. Every iMac display is individually color calibrated using an advanced spectroradiometer,” the company added.

These manufacturing methods are new and seem to require more attention before assembly can accelerate to a faster-paced yield rate.

The new iMac uses Intel’s third-generation quad-core Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, the latest NVIDIA GeForce graphics (with up to 60 percent faster performance), 8GB of 1600 MHz memory as standard (upgradable to 32GB) and a 1TB hard drive.

Customers can choose to pre-configure their systems with more memory and higher-clocked CPUs, as well as a maximum of 768GB of flash storage.

The systems also feature two Thunderbolt ports and four USB 3.0 ports.

CNet chimes in to report that it has learned from a person familiar with the situation that the 21.5-inch model will indeed ship before year’s end.

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