Will Apple deliver a budget-priced iMac in 2014?

An analyst with a knack for nailing future Apple plans predicts cheaper iMacs will be on the way to boost sales outside the U.S.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

While Apple's iPhone and iPad sales remain strong, its Mac sales have flagged a bit recently -- or more than a bit -- which is leading to the usual rumor-mongering about what the company will do next to boost sales. These include new MacBook Pro models, perhaps announced as soon as next week, or some hybrid iPad/MacBook portables

A new one involves the iMac, Apple's all-in-one desktop PC, which recently got a quiet update to Intel Haswell processors and other improved specs, but features a starting price point of $1,299. With more and more Windows all-in-ones being released all the time, many for well under $1,000, the iMac's pricing may be blunting its popularity -- even if it's in line with Apple's overall premium pricing strategy.

This problem may be most acute overseas, where the iMac is even more of a luxury purchase. So it may come as little surprise that KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is predicting that Apple will be releasing a more budget-friendly iMac in 2014. According to Kuo, the last redesign of the iMac in late 2012 did not ship as many units as expected -- owning mainly to price, he believes -- and Kuo predicts that a lower-priced iMac could boost its sales from 10 to 20 percent.

Unlike some Apple "experts," Kuo is regarded as having a pretty good track record at predicting future products from the company. And if Apple wants to continue its growth streak, it may have to make its computers slightly more affordable, though as the iPhone 5C illustrates, its idea of "cheap" and the worldwide market's idea may not be the same. There may be ways to cut a few corners on the iMac (slower Haswell processors, cheaper materials), however, and lower its price to $999 without crippling it.

Would you be more likely to buy an iMac if the price were lower? How much lower would Apple have to drop the price? Let us know in the Talkback section below.  

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