Is Apple iMac production suffering a slowdown?

This morning, I started getting notes from people saying that Apple (AAPL) had notified them of delays in shipping their newly purchased 27-inch iMacs. I chatted with an Apple rep online who told me that indeed there had been delays for shipments of the 27-inch quad-core models. However, the people who told me of the delays had purchased both quad- and dual-core models. This seems to imply some sort of last-minute manufacturing glitch for Apple.

The company is known to run an extremely tight inventory ship with Chief Operating Office Tim Cook being among the highest-regarded logistics and operational executives in consumer electronics. Apple keeps very low levels of inventory on hand and is an avid practitioner of just-in-time manufacturing methods. Apple also outsources most of its production to fabrication facilities in China. Its biggest partner there is Foxconn, a subsidiary of Hong Kong electronics manufacturing HonHai Precision (HNHPF).This kind of delay is quite unusual for Apple, particularly so close to the holiday shopping season -- when consumer electronics makers log their best quarters. I'll pass along any additional information I might get from Apple.

Since the iMac is a relatively small part of Apple's sales mix, the delays are unlikely to upset revenues to any large or permanent degree. However, this could be a rare failing on the part of Apple's crackerjack operations team and perhaps an indicator of the stresses of running so many product lines and monitoring their production from afar.

Alex Salkever is Senior Writer at AOL Daily Finance covering technology and greentech. Follow him on twitter @alexsalkever, read his articles, or email him at
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