UK schools and colleges are queuing up to place orders for Apple's new notebook the iBook, but initial supplies may not meet the strong anticipated demand, resellers have warned.
According to Brendan O'Sullivan, acting managing director of Apple Xemplar, Apple's education reseller, said the iBook, launched last month at Apple's annual Macworld conference in New York, (see Newswire 21 July 1999) was proving a hit with schools across the UK.
"We know we could take orders for thousands and thousands but we are being careful. We know there will be a limited supply to start with. For month one of its release, supply will outstrip demand."
O'Sullivan said that the level of interest in the iBook matched up to the reaction following Apple's consumer desktop launch, the iMac, in August last year.
"We have had a fantastic reaction from all across the educational base. In particular the things that tickle the education market are the iBook's attractiveness and the wireless technology, Airport," he said.
He explained that since the launch of the government's IT in schools initiative, The National Grid for Learning, it has become apparent that some of the investment in IT would need to be made by the parents themselves.
"The government wants to see attractive, desirable computers."
In addition, O'Sullivan said that portables were becoming more of a sensible option for schools where space is limited.
"The Airport technology is very attractive. From a health and safety perspective - no trailing wires, as well as a cost issue - schools have been waiting for a breakthrough."
O'Sullivan said one Scottish IT advisor had called him to say that he had been considering spending thousands on networking his school PCs. "With an Airport base station, up to 10 notebooks can be connected and they will save thousands of pounds on cabling."
"Schools have been waiting for wireless Internet access and Airport is orders of magnitude cheaper than other wireless technology," he said.
Despite the huge interest, Apple has not yet revealed how much the iBook will cost in the UK. It will cost around $1599 to buy in the US.
Although the iBook is significantly more expensive than many consumer desktops, O'Sullivan is confident that the price will not hinder potential UK buyers.
"In terms of value for money, it's better than anyone else's product at that price point," he said.
The iBook is due to go on sale in the UK in late September.
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