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Apple introduces new budget iMac for education

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Apple (s aapl) rolled out a new, budget-priced iMac early Monday morning, but it comes with a catch: You have to be an educational institution to get the deal. The $999 iMac also features slightly less impressive specs when compared to its consumer retail siblings. Even powered down, it should be an attractive option, and it’s a good sign that Apple still knows the children are its future.

The budget iMac (which is available only to institutions, not school students or faculty) features a 3.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 processor,(s intc) a 250 GB hard drive and just 2 GB of RAM, along with a 21.5-inch display. It also offers an AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics card (s amd) with 256 MB of memory and only comes with Mini DisplayPort, not Thunderbolt. Apple’s entry-level consumer iMac, by comparison, has a 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 6750M card with 512 MB of memory and a 500 GB hard drive, for only $150 more.

That may not seem like a great savings to some, considering the new education iMac’s considerably reduced specs, but for volume shoppers purchasing 10 or more machines for a computer lab or library, the extra savings will add up quickly. And if the computers are primarily being used for brief sessions made up of less-specialized tasks, the extra muscle in the $1,149 Mac (the standard $1,199 model, after a $50 education discount) isn’t necessary. Apple also still offers an $899 20-inch 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac which uses the previous aluminum and glass body design used on machines before the 21.5- and 27-inch models were introduced.

The introduction of the new iMac shows that Apple is still keen on attracting education customers, which is a great way of getting its product in the hands of students, one of its core demographics. Apple’s attempts to win favor with students also includes the yearly back-to-school deal and special pricing for individual educational customers, which usually knocks at least $50 off the price of any Mac. According to recent research, it’s a combined strategy that’s working very well.

3 Responses to “Apple introduces new budget iMac for education”

  1. Douglas Crets

    I think they shouldn’t make it education only. Is there a way to sell them to individuals using them in the education field at this price?

  2. John Weidman

    Bad idea.
    Kids are going to be using this dead sled and school– then they are going to run home to mommy and daddy and tell them how they under-perform relative to the PCs that reside there. Don’t think that they won’t take that into consideration if the subject at switching at home comes up.

    Apple should just bite the bullet and give education a handsome discount on fully speced machines. 2 gigs of ram? Come on!