Yet another PowerPC-based Macintosh is consigned to the history books. Apple last week introduced a new, low-end, stripped-down version of its Intel-based 17-inch iMac computer, replacing the eMac for the education market. The new $900 model, priced $300 below the education cost of the existing 17-inch model, boasts many of the same features.
Apple has economized on the new model by replacing the 8x dual-layer SuperDrive of the $1200 model with a 24x Combo Drive, capable of burning CDs and reading, but not burning, DVDs; including a smaller hard drive (80 GB instead of 160 GB); using the same Intel GMA 950 graphics chipset with shared memory as the MacBook and Mac mini; and leaving out Bluetooth and the Apple Remote that has become a standard feature on new Macs.
The low-end iMac still features a 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo CPU, 512 MB of memory, AirPort Extreme wireless networking, and a built-in iSight video camera. The hard drive capacity and memory can be expanded via build-to-order options, and an Apple Remote can be ordered as an add-on, along with Apple's external USB modem.
Apple says the new iMac model, which was shown last week at the National Educational Computing Conference in San Diego, is available immediately to education customers (and only education customers at this point). The all-in-one eMac, with its PowerPC chip and Apple's last remaining CRT monitor, will remain available as long as supplies last, alongside remaining stock of the G4-based iBook.