On April 29, 2002, Apple introduced the eMac, an desktop computer based on the iMac but with an inexpensive look and technology to make it more affordable for the education market. Although Apple offers discounts to students and teachers, no Mac is publicly designed for this product. What if, in 2022, Apple introduced a new Mac entry level?
When the eMac was launched, Apple had already released the iMac G4 a few months ago with a floating LCD display and a “lamp” icon design starting at $ 1,299. But as long as the company wants to reach out to students and academics, it is with the eMac. Although eMac had the same G4 processor as the Note iMac G4 model, the rest of the computers were largely based on the old iMac G3. This includes a CRT display instead of an LCD, which helps Apple reduce the costs of launching the eMac.
Originally, eMac was sold exclusively to curriculum buyers with prices starting at $ 1,099. The device became so popular that Apple later reduced the price to $ 999 and made it available to everyone. EMac was officially discontinued in July 2006, when Apple replaced it with a smaller version of the iMac G5 sold exclusively to academia. If we look further, the iMac’s entry level value is about the same from the original model. However, 24 years later, you can get a device with a larger Retina display, SSD storage, and a powerful M1 chip for the same $ 1,299 as before. It’s a big deal, right?
At the same time, Apple is selling the M1 MacBook Air for only $ 999, and you can get the M1 Mac mini for as little as $ 699. I think all Apple Silicon Macs are a great value considering everything they offer, but they are also an expensive device for students and academics. You could argue that the Mac mini fits this purpose, but then you need to plan the cost of all the peripherals such as monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
Apple is offering a student-facing entry level that is almost half the price of the iPad Air and fully enhances the iPad experience. And when it comes to the iPhone, the more affordable iPhone SE is also an option for those who do not need everything that the more expensive models offer. This process of introducing some inexpensive products is working, as Android has been losing ground to iOS in recent years. So why not get the same process with Mac?
I am sure some students (and even regular customers) will leave things like 4K display, advanced speakers, or a modern design to experience macOS and Apple Silicon platform for a more affordable price. Personally, I believe that if Apple keeps the current M1 MacBook Air for a small price after launching a rumored redesigned model later this year, it will be a killer for the laptop market.