Apple's New iMac Cuts Price, But Does It Cut Corners?

Apple has added another model to its line of iMac desktops. The new iMac is $200 cheaper than the next model, but some are criticizing its spec sheet.

Apple's New iMac Cuts Price, But Does It Cut Corners?

​Apple has introduced an economy model to its lineup of iMac desktops — but it's left many wondering if it skimped on the specs while driving down the price.

"It's a new 21-inch iMac under $1100. It has a slower processor, but it has that big impressive screen that a lot of people really love when it comes to the iMac." (Via KNBC)

As a base model, this 21.5-inch iMac features a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of memory and a 500 GB hard drive. It sells for $1,099. That's only $200 cheaper than the next model. In its press release, the company calls the new iMac "the perfect entry-level Mac desktop."

The all-in-one computer has a polished silver exterior like its slightly more expensive cousins, but it's what’s under the hood that has the tech-savvy media turning up noses.

Specifically, processing speed versus pricetag. The dual-core processor in the new iMac is roughly half as fast as other quad-core iMacs. Several outlets agree a savings of $200 doesn't seem worth throttling the speed.

The head scratching continues when you compare the new model to other Mac products. Ars Technica, among others, referred to the model as a "MacBook Air in a desktop body."

The specs of this new, cheaper iMac are nearly identical to the higher-end 11-inch Air — from price point to the i5 chip to the graphics card. Its only saving grace: The new iMac features twice the amount of memory, 8 GB compared to 4.

Wired isn't enthusiastic but says keep in mind this could be the perfect option for families looking for an "OSX command center" for surfing the Internet and doing homework.

Computerworld spoke with an expert on U.S. retail sales who noted a growing trend: Steve Jobs' famous — or perhaps infamous — standard of excellence seems to be slowly fading away.

"There's a lot more attention paid to volume at Apple." (Via Computerworld)

Meaning: Apple is opening up its products to more mainstream consumers. On CNBC, analysts debated whether the price cut would be enough to inflate its user base.

"You always have to have the bottom-end product to get people in the door. Apple's going for the lower-end PC products. It has weaker graphics, but the bargain hunters will find it." (Via CNBC)

One thing's for sure: Each criticism is a telling sign Apple has built itself as a company with high standards and the media, bloggers, and consumers alike will hold the company to it.