Apple has announced a new entry-level iMac starting at $1,099, which is $200 cheaper than the existing 21.5-inch iMac model. This new iMac features a 21.5-inch screen, a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (up to 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost) with 3 MB shared L3 cache, 8 GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 5000. It also sports two Thunderbolt ports, four USB 3.0 ports, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The RAM is not expandable, and the only build-to-order options are a 1 TB hard drive ($50), a 1 TB Fusion Drive ($250), and 256 GB of flash storage ($250).
In terms of tech specs, the new iMac is a big step down from the $1,299 21.5-inch iMac, which instead offers a significantly faster 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (up to 3.2 GHz with Turbo Boost) with 4 MB L3 cache, 8 GB of RAM (expandable to 16 GB), a 1 TB hard drive, and Intel Iris Pro graphics. The $1,299 model also offers a 1 TB Fusion Drive ($200), 256 GB of flash storage ($200), and 512 GB of flash storage ($500) as build-to-order options.
If you can spare the extra $200, the $1,299 model is a distinctly better machine, though it’s nice to see Apple making Macs more affordable for situations where performance may not important, such as kiosks and public access computers.