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Apple Rolls Out 1.25 GHz eMac At US$799, US$599 For Education [Updated]

Apple Rolls Out 1.25 GHz eMac At US$799, US$599 For Education [Updated]

by , 9:00 AM EDT, April 13th, 2004

[Update: We have updated this story with information on Apple's education eMac models - Editor]

Apple Computer announced today a speed bump for its eMac desktop models, starting at US$799 for the low-end, 1.25 GHz model. The two models include a new and faster ATI Radeon graphics chip and a jump from USB 1.1 to 2.0 for peripheral connectivity. Bluetooth is also now being offered as an optional add-on.

The base model will be the US$799 with combo drive. The unit includes a 1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 256MB of 333 MHz DDR SDRAM, a 32x Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) optical drive, three USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire 400 ports, the ATI Radeon 9200 graphics chip with 32MB video memory, and a 40GB Ultra ATA/100 hard drive.

The base model is seeing a jump from 1.0 GHz to 1.25GHz in G4 processor speed with an additional 128 MB in memory at 333 MHz instead of SDRAM at 133 MHz, the addition of the faster ATI Radeon 9200 graphics chip instead of the Radeon 7500, and an upgrade from USB 1.1 to 2.0 for the same price as the previous model.

The high-end model, with SuperDrive, will retail for US$999. It includes a 17-inch flat CRT with a 1.25 GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 256MB of 333 MHz DDR SDRAM, an 8x SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW) optical drive, three USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire 400 ports, the ATI Radeon 9200 graphics chip with 32MB video memory, and an 80GB Ultra ATA/100 hard drive.

The full-featured model is seeing a jump from 1.0 GHz to 1.25GHz in G4 processor speed, the addition of the faster ATI Radeon 9200 graphics chip instead of the Radeon 7500, and an upgrade from USB 1.1 to 2.0 for US$100 less than the previous model.

Apple also quietly released a new model for the education market. It features the same boost to 333 MHz DDR SDRAM (256 MB), a 40 GB UltraATA drive, and a 1 GHz G4 processor. It does not have an optical drive, however, and Apple is offering it for US$599 to schools. The same model with a CD-ROM drive is available for US$649.

Non-institutional education customers can buy the consumer version of the eMac starting at US$749, and the SuperDrive model is discounted to US$899.

All of the new eMac models are available immediately.

Bluetooth is now being offered as an optional add-on on either of the two models for US$50. The Bluetooth module is internal and allows the user to connect the eMac with Bluetooth-enabled peripheral devices, such as Apple Wireless Mouse or the Apple Wireless Keyboard. In addition, users can synchronize data or send files to mobile phones and PDAs wirelessly.

"The new eMac is the most affordable SuperDrive-equipped Mac ever," Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of Hardware Product Marketing, said in a company-prepared statement.

The eMac was originally introduced April 29, 2002 for the education market only, at a price point of US$999 for a 700 MHz G4 model. Two months later on June 4, Apple released its first SuperDrive-equipped eMac to the general public at US$1,099.

The Mac Observer Spin:

The speed bump, while 25% faster than the previous eMac models, is nothing to write home about, but we like the price drop, the faster system bus and RAM, the bump in RAM, the addition of Bluetooth, and the better video card. The eMac is, for all intents and purposes, Apple's only answer for those looking for a cheap PC, and this rev helps make Apple a bit more competitive in that low-end market.

Still, for our money, US$699 for a 1 GHz unit with one FireWire port, no Bluetooth option, and a CD-burner (no DVD option) would have been a better price point in terms of being truly competitive, but we weren't asked.

[Update: Apple's educational offering at US$599 is super-aggressive, and could be just what the doctor ordered for its fight to gain education sales. The US$649 model with a CD-ROM drive is also a fantastic deal for schools. At the high-end, US$899 for a unit with a SuperDrive is also very competitive, especially with iLife and its DVD burning software included.

Yes, Apple is still missing a US$399 model for the education market, but the value being offered by the far superior eMac should make up for that in many schools, particularly when support issues are eventually figured in to the equation. We are more than delighted to see these kinds of educational offerings from Apple, and think that it will make a difference.]

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