Apple Releases Crippled Education-Only iMacby Andrew Cunningham on August 8, 2011 9:40 AM EST
Apple today updated its education store with a new iMac for especially price-conscious schools: for $999, you can buy a 21.5" iMac with a 3.1 GHz dual-core Core i3, 2GB of RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, a Radeon HD 6750M with 256MB of RAM, and a Mini DisplayPort connector - that's right, there's no Thunderbolt port in this iMac, though the computer is otherwise identical to the base-model Sandy Bridge iMac released earlier this year (which costs $1,149 for education customers).
This continues Apple's tradition of offering discontinued and cut-rate Macs to education-only customers - note that in this case, "education-only" doesn't refer to the Education Store accessible by the students, faculty, and staff members at most colleges and universities, but the special Apple Store available only to people purchasing computers on the behalf of their institution. Apple also offers these purchasers the white unibody MacBook and an early 2009-model 20" Core 2 Duo iMac, each for $899.
I don't really understand what the market for this thing is supposed to be - to save a meager $150, you lose half your processor cores, half your graphics RAM, half your regular RAM, half your hard drive space, and your Thunderbolt port, and the only part upgradeable when purchasing is RAM (4GB will set you back $90, mostly negating your savings over the base model, and 8GB costs an exhorbitant $270).
There are some very, very limited-use cases in which a Mac is needed and every dollar counts (think kiosk computers or basic computer lab machines), but to me this seems like a poor choice for your money - stay away from this thing unless you have a really good reason not to.