Apple to add $899 17″ iMac for education buyers

March 21, 2009

When the Apple eMac shipped way back in 2002, it was originally only available to education buyers. It looks like history may be on the verge of repeating itself as Cupertino is apparently preparing to relaunch a 17-inch iMac for students, teachers and their families.

Dennis Sellers at Macsimum News got a tip from a reader that Apple eNews for Education newsletter “leaked” the upcoming release of a smaller, more affordable all-in-one desktop. According to an Apple education newsletter:

The New iMac line””The new 20-inch and 24-inch iMac deliver a 30 percent larger display, twice the memory, and twice the storage. The new iMac line also includes a 17-inch model starting at $899.

Confirmation of this information comes from Italian Mac website Setteb.it, which has published a screencap of the email missive from Cupertino.

Additional information about specifications isn’t included, but the last 17 inch iMac (white plastic enclosure) Apple offered previously was discontinued in September 2006, though the company was still selling refurbs as late as December of last year for $699 (1.83GHz, Intel GMA).

That said, Apple’s current entry-level $999 MacBook comes housed in white plastic and sports a 2GHz processor and nVidia’s well regarded 9400M integrated graphics. I would expect Apple to ship an educational iMac priced at $899 with similar if not slightly better speaks (ie desktop processors are cheaper than portable variants).

How do you think an $899 education iMac will be spec’d and will it come in a plastic or Aluminum enclosure? And, will a 17-inch iMac only be available to education buyers or will everyone feel the love?

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