2TB hard drive shortage hits Apple's BTO iMacs with 5-7 week wait

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Build-to-order iMacs with 2-terabyte hard drives now have an estimated shipping time of 5 to 7 weeks, in what is potentially the first sign of Apple being hit by a lingering global hard drive shortage.



A reader contacted AppleInsider on Friday to note that the estimated shipping times for custom iMacs went up dramatically from their previous time of 1 to 3 days. The shipping estimates apply in the U.S. as well as internationally.



The unusual wait time for an iMac equipped with a 2TB hard drive comes as flooding in Thailand has caused major problems for the hard drive supply chain. About 14,000 factories have shut down with more than 600,000 people put out of work, affecting hard drive makers Western Digital and Seagate.



So far, orders for build-to-order iMacs with hard drive capacities under 2TB are unaffected, showing normal shipping times of 3 to 5 days. In addition, all solid-state hard drives are also unaffected, and the lengthy 5 to 7 week wait only applies to iMacs with a 2TB serial ATA drive.



High-capacity 2TB drives are only available from Apple in the company's iMac and Mac Pro desktops. For customers looking to buy the far-less-popular Mac Pro, build-to-order configurations featuring 2TB hard drives are currently unaffected.



In fact, a user can place an order with a whopping four 2TB drives in all four of the Mac Pro's hard drive bays, and Apple still estimates the machine will ship in three to five business days.



During his company's quarterly earnings conference call in October, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was asked about flooding in Thailand and how any supply chain disruption might affect the company's production of Macs. Cook noted that Apple's thoughts are with the people who lost their lives and property as a result of the devastating floods.



As for the affect on Mac shipments, Cook admitted that Thailand supplies a "significant portion" of the total worldwide supply of hard drives. He noted that numerous factories were not operable and the timeline for those factories to return to work was unknown.



"It is something I'm concerned about," Cook said. "We do expect -- I'm virtually certain there will be an overall industry shortage of disk drives as a result of the disaster. How it affects Apple, I'm not sure."







For now, there is no evidence of the industry-wide hard drive shortage affecting Apple's other products outside of the iMac, and in particular its popular MacBook line of notebooks. Notebooks take the lion's share of Apple's Mac shipments, accounting for 74 percent of Apple's computer sales last quarter.



But Apple executives noted that while desktops are an increasingly small proportion of its overall sales, the company still had a record quarter for the total number of desktops sold. Of the record 4.89 million Macs sold in Apple's last quarter, desktop sales were represented primarily by the company's all-in-one iMac.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Waiting for ConradJoe to claim this is an Apple conspiracy to increase iMac demand.
  • Reply 2 of 40
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post






    In fact, a user can place an order with a whopping four 2TB drives in all four of the Mac Pro's hard drive bays, and Apple still estimates the machine will ship in three to five business days.






    Given this fact, it is hard for me to accept that Apple is having difficulty obtaining drives, unless the Mac Pro assembly lines hav e different stock sources than the iMac lines. And even if that were true, why wouldn't Apple ship drives to the iMac facility?



    Dunno. Drive shortages don't seem to be a likely cause for the iMac delays.
  • Reply 3 of 40
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Waiting for ConradJoe to claim this is an Apple conspiracy to increase iMac demand.



    Don't hold your breath.



    IMO, Apple is one of the corporations least likely to conspire with anybody. I've never said differently.
  • Reply 4 of 40
    Are they basically saying that Apple with that huge cash reserve won't be able to obtain 2TB hard drives from any manufacturer and that Apple will be hit the hardest from drive shortages? They figure that no company would actually go out of their way to accommodate Apple if Apple threw a pile of money on the table in a weakened economy. If Apple can't manage that much, they really are wasting that $82 billion in reserve cash.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,129member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    Given this fact, it is hard for me to accept that Apple is having difficulty obtaining drives, unless the Mac Pro assembly lines hav e different stock sources than the iMac lines. And even if that were true, why wouldn't Apple ship drives to the iMac facility?



    Dunno. Drive shortages don't seem to be a likely cause for the iMac delays.



    It's one of scale.



    Apple likely sells 10x the amount of HDD for iMacs versus the Mac Pro so there needs to be less drives on hand to satiate Mac Pro demand.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    It's one of scale.



    Apple likely sells 10x the amount of HDD for iMacs versus the Mac Pro so there needs to be less drives on hand to satiate Mac Pro demand.



    In addition, if you had a limited supply of 2 TB drives would you use them on a $2,000 computer or a $4-8,000 computer? Which one gets you more revenue?
  • Reply 7 of 40
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    It's one of scale.



    Apple likely sells 10x the amount of HDD for iMacs versus the Mac Pro so there needs to be less drives on hand to satiate Mac Pro demand.



    Likely you are right. I was thinking about that after I posted.



    If the Mac Pro shop has sufficient drives for expected Mac Pro sales, that really doesn't do much for the iMac. They could clean out the supply for the Mac Pro, and still not make a dent in the iMac shortage. My guess is that Mac Pros are on such a tenuous track that they don't want to screw anything up worse, especially given that it would not really benefit iMac sales in any appreciable manner.



    Transshipping drives from the Mac Pro facility to the iMac facility might just result in both having shortages, with no real upside.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post


    Are they basically saying that Apple with that huge cash reserve won't be able to obtain 2TB hard drives from any manufacturer and that Apple will be hit the hardest from drive shortages? They figure that no company would actually go out of their way to accommodate Apple if Apple threw a pile of money on the table in a weakened economy. If Apple can't manage that much, they really are wasting that $82 billion in reserve cash.



    We're not talking about merely giving upfront payments for component makers to invest, we're talking about dealing with a natural disaster here. This takes time, but I guarantee you that a company with cash reserves can get more stock and sooner than one without. How many 2TB drives can others get in the same time frame? How much longer do they have to wait for the same number of units? How much more are others having to pay because they can't invest in rebuilding the factories? These questions ? and a lot more ?*need to be taken into account.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    In addition, if you had a limited supply of 2 TB drives would you use them on a $2,000 computer or a $4-8,000 computer? Which one gets you more revenue?



    I was going to say but note more of the differences in markets for each machine type.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Waiting for ConradJoe to claim this is an Apple conspiracy to increase iMac demand.



    This is an AI conspiracy to get ConradJoe to post more.
  • Reply 11 of 40
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    Given this fact, it is hard for me to accept that Apple is having difficulty obtaining drives, unless the Mac Pro assembly lines hav e different stock sources than the iMac lines. And even if that were true, why wouldn't Apple ship drives to the iMac facility?



    Maybe because they are currently trying to move existing Mac Pro stock before a refresh and don't want to risk delaying those orders and getting stuck with old inventory?



    -kpluck
  • Reply 12 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    It's one of scale.



    Apple likely sells 10x the amount of HDD for iMacs versus the Mac Pro so there needs to be less drives on hand to satiate Mac Pro demand.



    I think it's more 100x times because the iMac is much more popular and Mac Pro users can easily replace the drives themselves and tend to buy their drives elsewhere.



    It's also somehow an admission to pro users that are willing to spent up to >10000 $ and sign a support contract. These contracts force Apple to reserve a guaranteed amount of replacement drives. The Mac Pro therefore has a much better demand to stock ratio.

    Selling the stock to iMac buyers wouldn't have a massive effect on availability.

    So why not fulfill the demand of the pros with contract when it would not have a significant effect on iMac buyers?



    BTW: I ordered the top of the line iMac with SSD and 1 TB drive planning to add a Thunderbold Raid if my server is running out of space.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    This whole HDD price increase has sure made SSDs much more appealing!



    Maybe this is what is needed to push the price of SSDs down close to that of HDDs. I need a new HDD for my iMac and now I'm going to by a smaller SSD for the boot drive and use the old drive (plus another old drive) for the external permanent storage. What I was going to do was just buy a 2TB HDD and replace the whole thing, not now!.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by krreagan View Post


    This whole HDD price increase has sure made SSDs much more appealing!



    Maybe this is what is needed to push the price of SSDs down close to that of HDDs.



    You've got it backwards. SSDs aren't coming down to the HDDs' prices. HDD prices are going up.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,424member
    Only iMacs are affected for now, because even Apple has difficulty servicing them--limited supply of suction cups.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by krreagan View Post


    This whole HDD price increase has sure made SSDs much more appealing!



    Maybe this is what is needed to push the price of SSDs down close to that of HDDs. I need a new HDD for my iMac and now I'm going to by a smaller SSD for the boot drive and use the old drive (plus another old drive) for the external permanent storage. What I was going to do was just buy a 2TB HDD and replace the whole thing, not now!.



    Someone needs a less in supply and demand......



    If HD's are less available, that would have no impact on SSD prices. Unless, that is, more people order SSDs instead of HDs - in which case greater demand for the SSDs would drive prices UP, not down (although most people aren't going to replace a 2 GB HD with an SSD. Maybe a 1 TB hard drive, but not SSD).



    The thing that will most help SSD pricing is the glut of RAM capacity. If suppliers are able to convert from making DRAM to SSDs, then prices will eventually come down.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Waiting for ConradJoe to claim this is an Apple conspiracy to increase iMac demand.



    Uh-oh. He'd better add Apple to his enemies list
  • Reply 18 of 40
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Waiting for ConradJoe to claim this is an Apple conspiracy to increase iMac demand.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheShepherd View Post


    This is an AI conspiracy to get ConradJoe to post more.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Uh-oh. He'd better add Apple to his enemies list



    Is this reverse trolling, or just plain trolling?
  • Reply 19 of 40
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    On Newegg, a 2 TB Seagate Drive (green) is $255.



    It wasn't that long ago that those drives were under $100.



    As soon as I read about the hard drive shortage some weeks ago, I scrambled and got myself some extra terrabytes while they were still cheap and available. Some people said that the hard drive shortage from the floods is overblown, but with huge delays on the iMac, it's looking quite real.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    conradjoeconradjoe Posts: 1,887member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    Is this reverse trolling, or just plain trolling?



    It is called "giving props".





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