Apple is offering two cheaper iMac models for educational institutions. (Apple Education store)

Mac Rumors first reported on the offer. The $999 computer comes with OS X Lion and has a 21-inch LCD, an Intel Dual-Core i3 processor, a 250-GB hard drive and 2 GB of RAM, but it does not have Apple’s new Thunderbolt port. The new model is $150 less than the base model of the commercially available iMac.

Apple is still offering its previous education-only iMac, a $899 version with even fewer bells and whistles. The 20-inch computer comes with 2GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive, and runs OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard.

The company has always marketed its products heavily to schools and has offered lower-performance, lower-cost Macs for use in school computer labs and libraries.

Recent analyst reports peg Apple as the country’s third-largest PC vendor. Although the sector on the whole has had disappointing sales, Apple’s sales were ahead of the industry average, Gartner reported last month, partly because of an iMac refresh that drove sales in the education sector.

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