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Wait time for Apple's 2TB BTO iMacs improves to 2-4 weeks

Custom-built iMac desktops with 2-terabyte hard drives now have a shipping estimate of 2 to 4 weeks, suggesting Apple has seen its stock of high-capacity hard drives improve.

AppleInsider was first to report a week ago that Apple's build-to-order iMacs with 2TB hard drives had an estimated shipping time of 5 to 7 weeks. Though Apple didn't comment on the situation, the lengthy and uncharacteristic delay was potentially the first sign of the company being hit by a lingering global hard drive shortage.

But just a week later, shipping times for 2TB iMacs have already improved to between 2 and 4 weeks, indicating that any hard drive shortage seen by Apple may be short lived.

While shipping times have improved, there is still quite a bit of a delay with an estimated 2 to 4 week shipping time. For example, a custom-built iMac with a 256GB solid-state drive has a shipping estimate of just 2 to 4 business days.

Apple's shipping time for desktops with higher-capacity hard drives may be a result of flooding in Thailand, which has caused disruption in the hard drive supply chain, including Western Digital and Seagate. About 14,000 factories have been shut down and more than 600,000 people were put out of work by the devastating floods.

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Western Digital announced last week that it had resumed hard drive production in Thailand. But industry watchers expect the industry-wide hard drive shortage to linger well into 2012.

Just this week, IHS predicted that the flooding in Thailand would cause a shortfall of nearly 4 million total PC units in the first quarter of calendar 2012. The research firm also reduced its projected total PC sales in 2012 from 399 million to 376 million, partly due to the hard drive shortage, as well as weakening demand.