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The cheapest iMac available on Apple’s online store is currently a 21.5-inch version with a 2.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5 processor for $1,199, but Apple is now offering a slightly different deal. The company posted information about an “education-only” version of the iMac on Monday morning—the machine still has a 21.5-inch screen, but it sells for $999 and comes with a 3.1GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i3 processor.
The education-only iMac is not available to regular buyers via the online Apple Store, so don’t get your hopes up about saving a couple hundred dollars just yet. Authorized educational buyers, however, can get the machine with up to 8GB of RAM if they configure via the Apple Online Store (it comes with 2GB by default), a 250GB hard drive, AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics, FaceTime HD, Mini DisplayPort (no Thunderbolt, it seems), and Lion preinstalled.
As noted by MacRumors, the $999 iMac joins an $899 version—also limited to educational institutions—that comes with a 20-inch display, either a 2.0GHz or 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and either Snow Leopard or Leopard preinstalled. It’s likely that Apple is keeping this one around for schools that need new computers but aren’t able to upgrade to Lion yet, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see this one disappear from the options eventually. And for students who are buying for themselves, Apple offers the aforementioned 2.5GHz Core i5 iMac for $1,149—$50 off the regular retail price.