The Education Surcharge (10/4/01)

Okay, ever since that new entry-level iMac we hinted at last week finally showed up this past Monday, we've gotten a ton of mail from people asking us just what the heck is up with the pricing on that unit. Not the $799 that Apple is charging regular joes-- most people are okay with that. Rather, as faithful viewer Ross Mon points out, it's the fact that this exact same configuration is being sold in the educational channel for $849, thus introducing yet another Apple innovation: the Negative Education Discount. Yes, while the other iMacs are available to students and teachers for $50-90 off the standard retail pricing, the entry-level system costs fifty bucks more. That's a -6.3% savings. Such a deal!

We've let this slide for a few days, because we just figured that the folks responsible for updating the Apple Store for Education were a little bogged down. After all, this "new" entry-level iMac actually isn't new at all; Apple has sold the bare-bones config in the educational channel since July, while consumers were stuck going with the $999 model or higher. Since the education-only entry-level system has cost $849 ever since, we simply assumed that Apple hadn't gotten around to updating its price list and that the education model would drop to, say, $749 any minute. Now it's been three days, though, so we can't help but wonder whether that listed $849 price is the real deal.

If it is, then Steve's got one more thing to explain the next time he gives his spiel about how "education is in [Apple's] DNA." Tip to Apple: we're sure it's just a mistake (we'd check with you, but that's something journalists do), but you might want to fix it before the EDUCAUSE conference rolls around at the end of the month, or else you might have to field a lot of unpleasant questions from the attendees-- or, more likely, the same unpleasant question over and over again.

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The above scene was taken from the 10/4/01 episode:

October 4, 2001: New PowerBooks are probably coming sometime this month-- but will new iBooks be joining them? Meanwhile, the rest of the PC industry gets a clue and prepares to ditch the floppy drive, and as far as the entry-level iMac goes, Apple decides to charge students and teachers more money than the rest of us...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3341: New 'Books All Around? (10/4/01)   A few days ago, we reported our psychic premonition that Apple is gearing up for one of those momentous press events sometime in the middle of the month, and that the star of that show will be none other than the long-awaited PowerBook G4 revision that's got all the road warriors drooling...

  • 3342: Floppies With Rigor Mortis (10/4/01)   "They called us MAD at the university!!" Say, folks, remember all the teeth-gnashing that ensued back when the original iMac was introduced in May of '98? We seem to recall a fairly massive faction of pundits insisting that Apple was doomed due to its shortsighted and egocentric decision to ship the product sans old-style serial and SCSI ports, and-- this was the real blasphemy, here-- even without a floppy drive...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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