June 19, 2014 Last Updated 9:58 am

Latest iMac release hands Apple critics more ammunition

Low-end iMac cuts entry price to $1099, but features chip specs that made many potential buyers assume it was a typo

The new iMac launched yesterday cuts the price of an entry-level desktop Mac to $1099 (not counting a Mac mini), but was released rather quietly into the marketplace, rather than receiving time at its developer conference event. Many writers who normally would have posted about the new iMac were strangely silent about the PC – maybe they were still trying to grapple with the specs which look sorely outdated.

The new iMac comes with a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 inside and 500 GB of storage space. The next level up features a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with 1TB of storage.

Apple often releases modest upgrades to its hardware around the time of WWDC in June, sometimes featuring new hardware as part of its keynote address, but many times simply released updates following the event. This year there was nothing. But most people assumed this was because of the huge number of software items covered at WWDC including its new Swift programming language launch.

imac215-selection-hero-2014But many Apple hardware lines are desperately in need of an update. The Mac mini, for instance, has not be updated in almost two years (604 days to be exact, according to Macrumors). The new low-end iMac really doesn’t improve the situation for anyone looking to buy a new Mac desktop. Yes, if you are replacing an H-P or Dell, and have wanted to move to the Mac OS, this iMac may be your next desktop. But comparing the new iMac to PCs half the price one finds the new Mac is still wildly overpriced, so what’s the point?

The point may be that Apple is desperate to get Mac sales going again. Right now they have very little to offer a PC buyer to make them pull the trigger. Next month, when Apple reports earnings, expectations are that its lack of new product offerings will suppress its performance, one reason why CEO Tim Cook has concentrated so hard on pleasing shareholders, splitting the stock recently 7-1.

WWDC, and its previews of Yosemite and iOS 8, and its introduction of a couple new programming options, silenced a lot of critics who have been looking for the next big thing. The new iMac introduction ironically have just reinforce the impression, though, that Apple really has little up its sleeve other than wringing every penny it can out of its existing products.

But, remember, all it takes is one new product release to get buyers excited again. It may be that we are entering a month of two of incremental updates, which then is followed by the fall with its new iPhone and iPad model introductions.

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