Yes, Apple has affordable Macs. They have not been upgraded in years but Apple sells them as if they were new. Jeffrey Mincey explains:
The reason the Mac mini is affordable at $499 is because Apple hasn’t upgraded the diminutive beast in years. Intel sells 8th generation CPUs these days. All the Windows kids are shopping for those. Apple doesn’t have a Mac with an 8th generation Intel Inside.
Mac mini and MacBook Air are longer than long in the tooth. iPhone has a similar issue. What’s old is sold as new.
Think of it as old Apple technology on sale. In fact, Apple does a similar thing– older technology sold as new— with iPhone: iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, then iPhone 7 and iPhone 7s Plus. Old devices sold as new devices. Just like Mac mini and MacBook Air.