iMac launch should have been delayed, admits Apple's CEO

Apple's Tim Cook concedes that customers were forced to wait too long for the new iMacs after they were announced in October.

Lance Whitney
Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
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Apple should have waited until 2013 to unveil the new iMacs, says CEO Tim Cook.
Apple should have waited until 2013 to unveil the new iMacs, says CEO Tim Cook. Apple

The new iMacs should have been announced in 2013 instead of last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook has admitted.

During Apple's second-quarter earnings conference call on Tuesday, Cook acknowledged that customers had to wait too long to receive their iMacs after the new models were announced last October.

"If we could run it over, frankly, I would have announced the iMac after the turn of the year," Cook said. "Because we felt our customers had to wait too long for that specific product."

Following the announcement of the two new iMacs, the 21.5-inch model finally became available on November 30 with a ship time of one to three business days. On the same day, its larger 27-inch cousin was hit by an initial ship time of two to three weeks, an estimate that rose to three to four weeks after just a few hours.

The 27-inch model continued to face delays on into 2013, while the 21.5-inch iMac also eventually was hampered by a wait time as long as three weeks. The supply contraints undoubtedly hurt Mac sales in December, according to Needham analyst Charlie Wolf, who noted that Mac shipments fell by 22 percent for the final month of 2012. Supply didn't start to catch up with demand until early March.

Last October, Cook had even cautioned that supplies of the iMac would be "constrained" throughout 2012, leading to a "signficant shortage."

Apple faced a similar shortage late last year with the iPad Mini but was able to push the tablet out in time for the holidays.

"Where the iPad Mini was in shortage in the quarter, in the December quarter, I would not have done that differently, because we were able to get the iPad Mini out to many millions of customers who really wanted that product for their holiday," Cook added.