Apple launches sub-$1,000 iMac

Apple's offering costs $999, and comes with a 3.1GHz dual-core processor and 250GB hard drive.

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Don Reisinger
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Is a new, cheaper iMac launching next week?
Is a new, cheaper iMac launching next week? Apple

Apple has quietly launched a cheaper iMac more than a week before earlier reports expected.

Apple's new offering costs $999, and comes with a 3.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 processor and a 250GB hard drive. The computer is running the AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics card.

The cheaper iMac is designed for education institutions only, which means individuals cannot purchase the computer at the discounted rate.

Citing a source named, "Mr. X," 9to5Mac reported yesterday that Apple would launch a new iMac as early as next Tuesday for less than $1,000. According to the Apple-focused blog, the computer would come with a 3.06GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 250GB hard drive.

Apple refreshed its iMac line in May. The company offers two 21.5-inch models, boasting quad-core processors and 4GB of memory. The cheapest 21.5-inch model has a 500GB hard drive and retails for $1,199. The slightly more powerful option comes with a 1TB hard drive and sells for $1,499.

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In addition, Apple sells two 27-inch iMac models, which retail for $1,699 and $1,999, respectively. They also come with quad-core processors, sport 2,560- by 1,440-resolution displays, and offer 1TB hard drives.

This isn't the first time Apple has offered a cheaper iMac for educational institutions. In 2006, the company announced a 17-inch iMac for education customers that cost $899.

Update at 6:45 a.m. PT to include details on the new iMac offering.