Compared to Apple's previous iMac for education, which featured a 3.1GHz dual-core i3 CPU, 2GB of RAM and a 250GB HDD, the new thin-and-light model is $100 more expensive but comes with more RAM and storage space. However, the new 21.5-inch iMac uses Intel's HD 4000 integrated graphics chipset, whereas the older version came with a discrete AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics card.
Like the consumer iMac, the made for education iteration brings Thunderbolt, USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity while dropping FireWire support. Also of note is the lack of an optical drive, which is a necessity for many schools that regularly install and update software. Interestingly, the standalone drive cannot be added to the configuration upon checkout.
As noted by MacRumors, the education only iMac is available to ship in 5-7 days, which is a bit longer than the 3-5 days quoted for machines with regular specifications. Apple recently caught up with iMac demand after suffering supply constraints during the holiday quarter, with North American customers now seeing 24-hour ship-by times for preconfigured models.