Apple targets education market with US$899 iMac

Apple is targeting the education market with a new $899 iMac running Intel's Core Duo processor.

Apple Computer on Wednesday launched an iMac dual-core desktop PC designed and priced for students and teachers.

The US$899 iMac has an iSight video camera for videoconferencing and built-in multimedia software that allows users to create movies, podcasts and blogs.

The iMac offers a great value proposition for school systems looking for value for money and up-to-date technology, "The iMac saves space and its all-in-one design appeals to the education market," said Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD Techworld.

The iMac has a 17-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, a 1.83-GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 512 MB of DDR2 SDRAM (expandable to 2GB), an 80G-byte hard drive (expandable to 160G bytes), a 24x combo drive to burn CDs and read DVDs, and 802.11g wireless networking capabilities. It runs on Mac OS version 10.4.6, also known as 'Tiger.' Also included are Apple's iChat AV videoconferencing software and iLife '06 software suite to create movies, photo albums, podcasts and blogs.

The iMac is a replacement for Apple's old eMac system, which was introduced in 2002. School systems running legacy Apple systems are comfortable with new Apple hardware and software as it provides an easier upgrade, Baker said.

Apple competes with Dell Inc. in the education market and is aggressively pushing its presence, Baker said. Last week Apple signed a US$41 million deal with the US state of Maine to provide Apple laptops -- iBooks -- to more than 30,000 middle schoolers and their teachers.

The iMac is available now at Apple's education store at http://www.apple.com/education/store.

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Agam Shah

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