updated 08:00 pm EST, Fri December 2, 2011
Long delay suddenly appears for 2TB option
Build-to-order Macs where the customer has specified a 2TB hard drive have suddenly jumped from a estimated shipping time of "next business day" to a new status of 5-7 weeks, in what could be a sign of the company being hit by the ongoing global hard drive shortage. Other drive sizes are unaffected so far, and the issue only crops up on built-to-order iMacs with 2TB drive options selected, reports AppleInsider.
The sudden and dramatic change in shipping times tied to the 2TB drive option is being seen in Apple Stores internationally as well as the US, though the 2TB option for BTO Mac Pros is strangely unaffected so far (though this can be explained by the Mac Pro selling in far lesser volumes than iMacs). Roughly 14,000 factories of all kinds, employing some 600,000 people, have had to shut down due to the flooding. Hard drive makers Seagate and Western Digital have been particularly affected, but the shortages have caused general price increases for all brands of hard drives.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about the possibility of hard drive shortages as a result of the Thailand flooding during the quarterly analyst conference call in October. At the time, the flooding had been going on since July, with large sections of the country seeing 6-foot flood levels, even affecting major cities in Thailand. Cook began his remarks by reiterating Apple's concern for the people affected by the flooding, and predicted the worldwide shortage now affecting the market and potentially Apple itself. He said at the time that he was unsure how much it would affect Apple.
In testing with various custom options, only adding a 2TB serial ATA hard drive to a BTO iMac order changes the shipping time. SSD options are unaffected, as are other hard drive sizes. The disruption could be the first sign that the shortage will have an effect on sales of some Apple products, which have so far been able to maintain normal shipping estimates even as some companies caution that supply could be affected for a while yet. The flooding in Thailand is still ongoing, though the crisis shows signs of receding at last. [via AppleInsider]