updated 02:01 am EDT, Tue April 9, 2013
Save 15 to 20 percent on model with user-upgradable RAM
For the first time since their introduction four months ago, Apple is offering refurbished models of the 27-inch current-generation iMac, at savings of up to 20 percent. Reflecting the constraints that have dogged the model since its introduction, the 27-inch refurbs list a 1-3 business day shipping window, and appear more than two months after Apple began offering refurbished versions of the 21-inch model. Following reports of a production breakthrough, iMacs of both sizes have appeared in greater quantity in the last month.
The current-generation iMacs use a variety of new production techniques and technologies (or lack of, in the case of the now-omitted optical drive) to reduce the overall volume of the machine by 40 percent, leaving it razor-thin at the edges while still being both substantially faster and noticeably cooler-running than the previous models. Production woes over the new assembly techniques, including friction-stir welding to keep edges smooth and seams invisible and flat-lamination of the LED-lit panel caused both models, but the 27-inch one in particular, to suffer low production yields that resulted in severe constraints on availability.
The problem was so great that the iMac even got blamed for overall Mac sales missing expectations during the holiday quarter of 2012. Though the problem has now been resolved, Mac sales are predicted to again miss analysts' marks for the fiscal Q2 report due later this month.
The lower-end configurations of 27-inch iMac -- favored by professionals due to their ability to add RAM, unlike the 21-inch model -- start at $1,529 compared to their normal $1,800 price tag for a quad-core 2.9GHz i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive. The high-end 27-incher offers $300 off its usual retail price, selling for $1,700 instead of $2,000 and features a 3.2GHz quad-core i5 with a 1GB Nvidia video card. A "sweet spot" of the current offerings for those who want a 27-inch with a built-in optical drive is the previous-gen 3.1GHz quad i5 with 4GB of RAM and a 1GB Radeon video card for $1,600, a 20 percent discount off its $2,000 original price. Custom configurations are also still available.
The models are likely to sell out quickly, though their debut in the refurb store means that they will periodically be back in stock. The refurbished page indicates that the iMacs may be available for local pickup at some locations.