Complaints about the 20" display problems started appearing on the Apple site on August 7, 2007, which was the day the new iMacs were first sold. The most recent complaint is dated November 18, 2007, the day I'm writing this article. There are over 300 posts to the thread, and it has been viewed over 15,000 times.
Some 20" iMac owners have claimed in the above thread that their iMacs do not have this problem. They were asked in the thread to post photos of their unaffected iMacs. I have not yet seen a photo of this nature.
Another thread was directed at finding a production week with "good" 20" iMacs. Again, a few users claimed to have "good" iMacs, but failed to post photos. This thread took an interesting turn when a faithful Mac owner insisted on seeing photos of a "bad" iMac; I haven't seen a bad iMac display anywhere. The owner of a 20" iMac cheerful obliged him. This user's photos are also interesting because they appear to rule out incorrect gamma settings as a cause of the display issue.
The thread ended with a poster deleting his thread for "legal reasons". If he was threatened with legal action, I wonder who made the threat. Apple then locked the thread, ruling out any chance of us finding out if there really was a production week when "good" 20" iMacs were made.
A Closer Look At The 24" Display Issue
The 24" display issue is surprising similar to the 20" issue, except that the gradient color change appears from left to right and mac photos. The 24" display also appears to suffer from backlight leakage, which apparently can occur from multiple directions.
Apple's Handling Of The Issue
Of course, the most important thing to both current and prospective 2007 iMac owners is getting this resolved. So far Apple has said nothing about the issues? Many iMac owners have reported being charged a 15% restocking fee when returning their defective iMacs, as some Apple retail managers apparently aren't acknowledging these problems as defects.
Many iMac owners are using terms like "class action suit" in discussion forums, but, thus far, none have taken the first step in initiating such proceedings. Many still hope that Apple will take the initiative and issue a recall of affected 20 and 24 inch iMacs. No one outside of Apple knows exactly how many 2007 iMacs are out there, but hundreds of thousands could have been produced.
Apple's fiscal year fourth-quarter earnings report shows sales of 817,000 desktops in the quarter ending September 29, 2007, which includes seven weeks of 2007 iMac sales. And, there are about an additional seven weeks (September 30 through the day of this writing) of desktop sales, including early holiday sales, not reflected in the above numbers. That's a lot of iMacs, and potentially a lot of two-way shipping fees and displays to replace.
According to Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, as of September 29, 2007, Apple had $15.4 billion in cash and no debt. Somehow, assuming the defects are real enough to affect use the of iMacs for the purposes they are purchased, I think they can afford to do the right thing no matter how many displays are affected.