Graphics issues force Apple to delay iMac orders, resellers report

Shipments of 27-in. model delayed after users complain of flickering screens, other problems

Apple has delayed shipping new 27-in. iMacs until it can figure out the cause of flickering screens and other display problems, according to reports from authorized resellers.

The move came just days after a Web designer created a site that tallied issues with the 27-in. iMacs, including screens broken in shipment, on-again-off-again flickering displays and screens that showed a jaundice-yellow tint.

Two Apple resellers -- independent dealers approved by Apple to sell Macs -- contacted the Apple iMac (Fall 2009) Issues site to report that all shipments of iMacs had been pushed back at least two weeks as Apple replaces the machines' graphics cards.

Canadian Web designer Scott Pronych built the tracking site after he received a 27-in. iMac with a shattered screen, saying he wanted to document the display problems. By digging through Apple's support forum and taking reports directly from others via a form on his site, Pronych has identified more than 600 users who have had issues with their new machines.

A thread on Apple's support forum dedicated to the flickering screen problem boasts nearly 1,200 separate messages and has a view count of over 173,000, making it easily the most-read of those on the iMac forum.

The resellers who contacted Pronych are in Europe. "I think they are feeling a bit frustrated as a lot of customers are blaming them for slow delivery, and likely they see my Web site as proof that there are some real problems with the graphics system of the new iMacs," Pronych said in an e-mail Friday.

On Saturday Pronych reached out to the resellers on Computerworld's behalf, but both declined to comment on the record. "I don't want to hurt my ties with the Mac community," one of the resellers said in an e-mail to Pronych that he forwarded in part to Computerworld. "As you may or may not know, Apple is strong-arming resellers since opening their own Apple Stores," the reseller continued.

Earlier this week, Apple changed the shipping status on its online store for both 27-in. iMac models from "Ships: 5-7 days" or "Ships 7-10 days" to "Ships: 2 weeks." Although high volume sales could account for the change, Pronych said he had been told by some users that Apple had pushed back the projected ship dates for their already-ordered iMacs.

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