Books & Review
Updated: Nov 27, 2012 02:23 PM EST


On Friday, the smaller 21.5-inch iMac -- Apple's most popular desktop -- will be available at the company's online and retail stores, as well as select authorized resellers, at prices starting at $1,299.
(Photo : Apple)

Apple has confirmed the company will release its recently debuted new iMac desktop computer Friday, Nov. 30.

On Friday, the smaller 21.5-inch iMac -- Apple's most popular desktop -- will be available at the company's online and retail stores, as well as select authorized resellers starting at $1,299, keeping good on the company's promised November release for the new desktops. 

The larger 27-inch iMac, which starts at $1,799, will be available for pre-order Friday, but won't ship until next month, Apple said in a statement.

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Apple introduced the new all-in-one iMac desktops on Oct. 23 as the company simultaneously debuted the iPhone 5. Apple said shortly after that the computers wouldn't ship for weeks, offering no explanation as to why. Two days later, during the company's quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the delays and said iMac supplies would be "constrained for the full quarter in a significant way."

The availability delays were unprecedented, according to ComputerWorld. The new iMacs were unveiled Oct. 23 Apple hasn't had any of the devices to sell in its online store. The company also pulled all the previous generations of devices from the market, and Apple's phone ordering desk was reportedly also unable to place orders.

Apple's focus on exquisite display quality may be the cause of these supply constraints. Additional reports from within its supply chain in Asia suggest the delay's attributable to the challenges partners have faced manufacturing displays in the quantity and quality required for use within these new Apple products.

Display manufacturers are partially to blame for the delay. Companies who produce screens for the new iMac models are being forced to invest in new production processes in order to make the screens. According to Digitimes, sources told ComputerWorld the new iMac models use, "panels sourced only from LG Display."

"The company has had to develop a new production process for mass producing the iMac panels and has limited capacity, which is delaying shipments," the source explained.

These are similar supply constraints to the issues Apple experienced with the launch of the iPhone 5.

"We believe the key issue in shipment data is in-cell supply constraints," said Barclay's Ben Reitzes.

"Our Asia team believes Apple has improved the sensitivity of its in-cell screens via a firmware update. As a result the visibility for iPhone 5 has improved and we believe there is less downside risk to production numbers going forward."

The new iMacs feature Intel's "Ivy Bridge" 2.7GHz or 2.9GHz quad-core Core i5 processors, 8GB of memory, 1TB hard drives, and Nvidia graphics chipsets with 512MB of RAM. The desktops also shun optical drives -- the last of Apple's computer lines to dump the devices -- and retained the previous models' screen sizes and resolutions.

The new desktops cost $100 more than their predecessors, with pre-configured 21.5-inch models priced at $1,299 and $1,499, and the 27-inch iMacs at $1,799 and $1,999.

The redesigned iMac has an aluminum and glass enclosure that is 5-millimeters thin at its edge. It features a reengineered display that Apple has said reduces reflections by 75 percent, and the new Nvidia GeForce graphics processors also promise up to 60 percent faster performance.

Apple is also heralding it's added "Fusion Drive" option for consumers, a version fht eiMac that combines 128GB of flash storage with a standard hard drive of between 1TB and 3TB. The hybrid drive will significantly speed up some of the iMacs actions, such as starting the iMac and opening often-used applications.

Apple has yet to comment on the price point of "Fusion Drive," although, on the Mac Mini, the 1TB option costs $250.

"Rather than sacrifice the speed of a solid-state drive or the high capacity of a hard drive, Apple will now use both. Top-of-the-line iMacs will include a zippy 128-gigabyte flash drive for the programs that people use most often and a 1- to 3-terabyte hard drive for music, videos, and documents," noted The Christian Science Monitor.

The publication continued: "Apple borrowed this idea from power users, such as hard-core PC gamers who will put the latest, greatest video game on a flash drive for maximum performance and then move it to a hard drive when the next big game arrives... Apple has streamlined the process. Its Fusion Drive software notes which programs you use most often and automatically moves them over to the flash drive.

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