iMac gets educational version, sees shipping times improve

While many people see Apple only as the company behind the "idevices," the computer has been the backbone of its business from day one. From the Apple II to the current slim iMac and MacBook Pros, the computer is what drives the business and has helped it stay on top.

These systems are also what has allowed Apple to branch out into the education and business world. Earlier this week, the company quietly announced a new version of the low-end iMac, which is available for educational institutions.

The machine has the same physical design, but with scaled-down specs and a more affordable price tag compared to the consumer version. It has the same 21.5-inch display, but cheaper 3.3-GHz dual-core Intel i3 processor instead of a 2.7-GHz quad-core Intel Core i5. The iMac also has half the ram (4GB instead of 8GB) and hard drive space (500GB instead of 1 terabyte).

This new model starts at $1,099. Even though that is $100 more expensive than the previous incarnation of the education-only machine, it will still save those that qualify $200 over the cheapest consumer model.

That isn't the only iMac news consumers can look forward too. A few weeks back, Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that there were "significant constraints" in production that caused dramatically lower iMac sales numbers in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. It seems as if those have passed, leading to the estimated shipping time of a new iMac purchased through the company's website dropping from several weeks to just one-to-three business days.

As Apple starts ramping up iMac production, companies that have considered Mac integration may start buying. With the help of an IT consultant that understands how to deploy Apple products, any company can be up and running in no time.