According to a “commercial source”, the updated iMac may not hit shelves until early next year due to manufacturing complications related to the 5mm edge thickness of the mounted display/chassis — 80% thinner than previous generation models.
This reduction is partly achieved through a friction-stir welding process that uses heat and pressure to adjoin two aluminum surfaces, enabling seamless joints between chassis sections. MacBidouille notes that this method is used in other fields, such as the construction of aircraft wings, but apparently computer makers are less versed in the tech or the new iMacs are simply that complicated to build — or both.
It’s also believed that Apple’s manufacturers are having trouble with producing the iMac’s new displays. The screen is 45% thinner than what’s inside last year’s models and it uses a lamination process that eliminates the 2mm air gap between the panel and front glass. This approach increasingly common among smartphones and tablets, but it’s reportedly harder to accomplish with the iMac’s larger screens.
Apple has declined to comment on MacBidouille’s report and the company’s online store still shows the original launch dates of November and December for the 21.5- and 27-inch iMacs. In a less extreme prediction, a person familiar with the situation told CNET that the 21.5-inch would probably be delayed until next month, but that both models would still ship in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season.