Consumers Reporting iMac Display Problems On The Increase

Some are also reporting that displays have arrived with cracked glass -- even though the box is undamaged -- and are making strange noises.

Apple so far has offered few comments about the reported problems other than to say shipments of the products, which were introduced Oct. 20, are being delayed by two weeks while the company swaps out the system's graphics card.

Apple support discussion sites are rife with consumer comments on the problem.

"Just bought the 27-inch yesterday and noticed the flickering while Firewire [was] transferring my older 20" iMac over to the new one," said a posting from "artka" in Milwaukee on one Apple Discussion page. "I thought it may have been the LED adjusting or something. The iMac was cold, first time turned on.

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"I let it sleep overnight, and once again, while cold, I turned it on and the flickering and menu bar on the top portion of the screen is happening," artka said. "It does this for roughly five minutes then it goes to normal. I have no idea what's wrong and its annoying and scary... software or hardware? I'll wait a few days before taking it in, but this needs a fix ASAP. I can imagine how it's going to upset many."

The problem, unless quickly resolved, could hinder sales, judging by some comments. "Saw this very thing (flickering/glitching display) on one 27" iMac in an Apple Store in West Los Angeles. The other 27" iMacs were fine, but one out of five in the store had the problem," said "UCLAMacConvert" on the discussion page. "I was set on ordering the i7 CTO 27" iMac but now am going to hold off until they resolve this..."

And a comment from "billybuds" from Oxford in the U.K., who also reported screen problems: "This is my first desktop Mac, and I'm still within my 14 day 'grace' period......should I be tempted by a Windows 7 machine...?"

Another site called Apple iMac (Fall 2009) Issues is collecting statistics on consumer reports about the new iMacs. As of 5:30 p.m. EST Monday the site had recorded 346 reports of flickering displays and 69 reported cases of cracked glass on the bottom left of the display. Smaller numbers reported other issues such as cracked glass in other locations (17), screens with a yellow tinge (68) and noisy screens (34). The site also had 196 reports from consumers who said they had no problems with their iMac.

The models use the AMD ATI Radeon HD 4670 or 4850 model graphics cards.