Over the weekend, Apple improved supplies of its new iMacs in the U.S. and several other markets.
As of Sunday, the company's U.S. and Canadian online stores showed a shipping delay of just one to three business days, a marked improvement from the two to three weeks previously posted for the 21.5-in. iMac, and the three to four weeks for the pricier 27-in. all-in-one model.
The change was the most dramatic improvement in iMac supplies since Apple introduced the revamped desktops last October. Apple did not start selling the 21.5-in. iMac until Nov. 30, while the 27-in. iMac was unavailable until mid-December.
In the interim, Apple stopped selling the previous generation iMacs, leaving a hole in its lineup for most of 2012's fourth quarter, a period when Mac sales plummeted 22% from the same quarter the year before.
Apple never explained the reason why the iMac was in short supply, although speculation centered on the display and case, both which relied on new manufacturing methods.
The company also slashed shipping delays in other markets, suggesting that the improvement was system wide and not simply because it diverted supplies to the U.S. On Sunday, the U.K. and French e-stores showed a five-to-seven-day delay for the 21.5-in. iMac, and one to two weeks for the 27-in. iMac. The German store's status was one to two weeks for both models. Before the weekend, those stores had listed shipping delays of up to six weeks.
The iMac supply improvements came amid signs that Mac sales rebounded in January.
The 21.5-in. iMac starts at $1,299, and the 27-in. model begins at $1,799, reflecting a $100 increase over the systems they replaced last year.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is email@example.com.