Making the iMac a little more affordable, Apple on Wednesday quietly introduced a new, lower-price entry model for the all-in-one desktop computer.
The new configuration, a 21.5-inch iMac that starts at $1099, contains a 1.4GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, with Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz. It also comes standard with 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and an integrated Intel HD Graphics 5000 chip. It otherwise has the same other features, including four USB3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, and 802.11ac wireless networking. Only a few storage build-to-order options are available: a 1TB hard drive for $50, a 1TB Fusion Drive for $250, and 256GB of flash storage for $250.
The remaining iMac configurations appear to have stayed the same, but the new model undercuts the previous cheapest model, the 2.7GHz version, which retailed at $1299--the price point that the entry-level iMac has large stuck to since its introduction in 1998.
Combined with the company's price cut on MacBook Airs earlier this year, it seems as though Apple is either trying to make its computers more accessible to the lower-end of the market--a tactic the company doesn't usually employ--or possibly staking out the low-end of the pricing spectrum to open up the potential for redesigned machines at some point in the future. (Think the non-Retina vs. Retina MacBook Pro, for example.)
The new entry-level iMac is available starting on Wednesday via the Apple online store and retail Apple locations.
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