Before Apple took down its online store today, there was a rumor that the company was planning to upgrade its all-in-one iMac with a speedier processor and a Retina display. Instead, the Cupertino giant decided to downgrade the hardware to make it more affordable.Essentially introducing a “budget” version of the iMac, Apple today announced that the entry-level is now a configuration that borrows the processor and the GPU from the MacBook Air and sells for $1,099 / €1,099.
“Apple today introduced a new 21.5-inch iMac starting at just $1,099 / €1,099, making the world’s leading all-in-one desktop even more affordable,” reads the announcement. “Featuring a stunning ultra-thin design, brilliant display, Core i5 processors and the world’s most advanced operating system, the new iMac is the perfect entry-level Mac desktop.”
The Cupertino giant continues, outlining the key system specs that buyers can expect in return for their $1,099 / €1,099. Apart from the bigger hard drive and display, customers basically get a MacBook Air on a stand.
“The new 21.5-inch iMac features a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost Speeds up to 2.7 GHz, Intel HD 5000 graphics, 8GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. All iMac models include next generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and two Thunderbolt ports and four USB 3.0 ports for excellent expandability and support for high-performance peripherals.”
Downgraded components include the processor (from 2.7 GHz to 1.4 Ghz, a massive drop), the storage capacity (from 1TB down to 500GB), and the graphics card (from Intel Iris Pro Graphics to Intel HD Graphics 5000).
The new entry-level iMac is available starting today through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores, and select Apple Authorized Resellers with a 24-hour shipping quota.
Apple now sells a total of five different iMac configurations with screen sizes ranging from 21.5 inches to 27 inches and various CPU / memory / storage / GPU options depending on the price.
For example, the most expensive configuration is the 27-inch 3.4 GHz model with quad-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz), 8GB (two 4GB) memory, 1TB hard drive, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M graphics with 2GB video memory.
You can visit Apple’s online store right now to take a look at the new iMac up close. Don’t expect any design changes. It’s the same aluminum-built all-in-one computer that’s simply less powerful than all its siblings. It’s a shame Apple found this the only viable way to cut the iMac’s price.