iMac buyers who already ordered one of the new 27-inch models are now being told by Apple that their units are one step closer to shipping.
A few MacRumors forum members who snagged the new large-screen iMacs say they've received notices indicating that the order status has been changed to "Preparing for Shipment." At least one person also said his credit card has been charged.
Both signs mean the 27-inchers are almost ready to be handed off to the shippers. Customers say the estimated delivery time is still being quoted as somewhere between December 21 and 31, according to MacRumors. But buyers could see them sooner if Apple can get them out the door fast enough.
Consumers still looking to buy the 27-inch iMac face a longer wait time.
Late last week, Apple changed the ship time for the larger iMac from three to four weeks to a more vague "January." The new estimate means the units will be delayed even further than previously expected, possibly not even shipping until later next month.
At Apple's fourth-quarter earnings call in October, CEO Tim Cook did admit that supplies of the iMac would be "constrained" the rest of the year. The 21-inch iMac is more readily available than its larger brother as it shows a ship time of just 7 to 10 days.