Apple launched a low-price iMac using the dual core processor found in the MacBook Air. At NZ$1550, the 21.5 inch iMac is NZ$300 less than the previous cheapest model.
There are compromises to shave $300 off the previous lowest iMac asking price.
Apple has given the new iMac the same 21.5 inch display as existing models but replaces the 2.7 GHz quad-core processor with a 1.4 GHz dual core i5 chip — the same processor as found in the latest MacBook Air laptops. It also uses a less powerful Intel graphics chip set than existing iMacs.
Unlike the MacBook Air, which packs a solid state drive, the new $1550 iMac comes with a 500 GB conventional hard drive. This compares with 1TB on the $1850 iMac.
While the processor is slower, few users will notice the performance drop. I use the MacBook Air with the same chip and it copes with everything I throw at it. Gamers and users needing more power for video production are not likely to buy iMacs anyway. On the other hand the new iMac is suitable for education and office users.
Apple’s iMac launch is only a minor tweak to the product line. A major iMac refresh is due at the end of the year when Intel’s next generation Broadwell chips become available.