By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 06, 2013 02:41 PM EST
Apple quietly introduced a new, revamped version of its low-end iMac for educational institutions only, and it costs $100 more than the previous education-only model, which retailed for $999.
It remains unclear exactly when the Cupertino giant launched the new iMac on its education institution Apple store, but it appears to be a recent addition.
The folks over at MacRumors were the first to spot the updated 21.5-inch iMac, reporting that the $1,099 version now replaces the previous $999 version of the iMac for educational institutions. The earlier $999 iMac was launched more than a year and a half ago, and Apple clearly thought it was time to make an update.
The new version of the 21.5-inch, low-end iMac is available for $1,099 now, $200 less than its standard counterpart that is available to everyone (this one is only available to educational institutions). The updated iMac sports a 3.3GHz dual-core Intel core i3 processor, a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, 4GB of RAM (2 x 2GB), Intel HD Graphics 4000 and a 500GB hard drive.
Apple also added USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity to the mix, as well as a Thunderbolt port. The updated version may be $100 more than the previous education-only model, but the upgrades are worth more. On the other hand, the redesign ditches the optical drive and FireWire, which may appear quite inconvenient to some users, especially since schools use CDs on a regular basis. External optical drives are, however, available for purchase.
As previously mentioned, only educational institutions can purchase this revamped $1,099 iMac model. Individuals making purchases through Apple's educational discount program cannot benefit from the same offer.
Apple currently lists the orders as shipping in five to seven business days, which is a bit longer than the three to five days estimates for other models purchased through the Apple Store for Educational Institutions. Meanwhile, consumer models of the iMac ordered through the regular online store in North America just had their shipping estimates cut to "within 24 hours," a significant improvement.
Note that Apple's educational discount service is something else entirely. Again, that service does not apply to this $1,099 iMac. Only educational institutions can buy this updated model. For $200 more, however, the standard entry-level iMac has better specs all around.
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