Apple unveiled their latest iMac today, a 21.5 inch model. The new 21.5 inch model is proceed at $1,099.00, $200 less than the previous entry level iMac. The new lower priced unit comes equipped with 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. At first look, this might seem that Apple is attempting to lower the price of entry into the cool kids club, trying to make Mac's more accessible. At closer look though, the picture is far from rosy. Last years model, priced at $1,299, offered consumers a 2.7 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost Speeds up to 3.2 GHz, Iris Pro 5200 graphics, 8GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive. Looking at them side by side, last years model makes the new iMac look almost anemic. With only a $200 price break, but only half the power of the previous model, the new iMac isn't a bargain, it's a disservice.
Adding insult to injury, Other World Hardware tore down the new iMac, and found that the new unit has cheap embedded RAM, which is soldered to the board. This development sheds even more light on Apples train of though and objective. Apple actually has to engineer the system differently to solder the RAM to the board, meaning they went out of their way to inconvenience the customer and prevent them from being able to upgrade their machines. Many consumers on limited budgets, buy a system that is in their price range, with the intention of upgrading it over time to the power and speed they could not afford in an up front purchase. Between the anemic specs of the new iMac and soldering the RAM to the board, Apple is pushing consumers into the higher end model. It's a slap in the face of consumers wanting to get into a Mac product, but needing a slight price break. Apple is effectively telling customers they will give them a minute discount, but they will be stuck with a low powered system that can't be upgraded.
While all of this is disappointing, we are aware that Apple is a publicly traded company, and many would argue they have an obligation to their shareholders first and foremost. And this machine will definitely help with that. Far cheaper to produce, the profit margins are much higher for Apple.