On Tuesday night, the online Apple Store went down for several hours, and when it returned, there was a new iMac model for sale. Described by Apple in a press release as “entry level,” the newest 21.5-inch iMac is a low-end edition, priced at $1099, which is $200 less than the previous least expensive model.
The new iMac has a less powerful processor, equipped with a dual-core 1.4 GHz Intel i5 and 8GB of low-power mobile DDR memory, which are components usually seen in the MacBook Air. Unlike the Air, however, the new model starts with a 500GB traditional spinning disk hard drive. It will have significantly less processing power than the now mid-range model, which remains priced at $1299 with a desktop-class 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5. There is no corresponding cheaper 27-inch model.
Tidbits referring to new iMac hardware were discovered in OS X beta software and noted analyst Ming Chi Kuo predicted a low-cost iMac upgrade in Q2 of 2014, so this new model isn’t a huge surprise. Its low cost could entice more people to take a chance on a desktop Mac, or this could be the model aimed at the education market.
Regardless, people taking a shot on this iMac probably won’t find a problem with its performance: The same dual-core chip is in Apple’s best-selling MacBook Airs and should be just fine for most users.