iMac ship times drop to one to three days

Both the 21.5-inch and 27-inch models sport a ship time of only one to three business days, at least in the U.S.

iMac ship times have eased up dramatically, at least in the U.S.
iMac ship times have eased up dramatically, at least in the U.S. Apple

Consumers who order an iMac in the U.S. should now see it at their doorstep in just one to three business days.

Shipment times for both sizes of Apple's all-in-one desktop eased up on Saturday following a previous lengthy delay. On Friday, Apple's online store had been showing ship times of three to four weeks for the 27-inch edition and two to three weeks for the 21.5-inch model.

The iMac had been hit by supply constraints and production problems, but those issues have apparently been addressed. However, not all buyers will receive their iMacs so quickly.

The new ship time seems to be limited to just the U.S. and Canada. The estimate varies widely across other countries.

Apple's online stores in the U.K. and France show an estimate of five to seven business days for the 21.5-inch model and one to two weeks for the 27-incher. The German and Italian stores display a ship time of one to two weeks for both models. Buyers in Japan and China face a wait of three to five business days for the 21.5-inch unit but only one to three business days for the 27-inch model.

After hitting stores on November 30, the 27-inch iMac offered an initial ship time of two to three weeks. But that rose to three to four weeks after just a few hours, an estimate that persisted. The 21-inch version had been in greater supply with an estimate of 7 to 10 days. But that jumped to two to three weeks in January.

In October Apple CEO Tim Cook warned that supplies of the iMac would be "constrained" throughout 2012, leading to a "signficant shortage."

The supply constraints undoubtedly contributed to a shortfall in overall Mac sales in December. Mac shipments fell by 22 percent that month, compared with an overall PC industry drop of just 6.6 percent, according to Needham analyst Charlie Wolf.

In an investors note released Friday, Wolf attributed the sales decline to a few potential factors but singled out the unavailability of the iMac.

"Since we estimated that Apple could conceivably have sold up to a million desktop Macs in December, the entire shortfall could be explained by the unavailability of desktop Macs," the analyst said.

But with supply now catching up with demand, at least in certain countries, Wolf expects Mac sales to stage a rebound this month.

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