Apple Computer has unveiled a new version of its iBook laptop that has been retooled for the classroom. The new iBook—touted as the first laptop designed especially for educators and students—is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, which was released in 1999. The new version, encased in white plastic, weighs 4.9 pounds, is 1.3 inches thick, and features a 12-inch display, a full-sized keyboard, and up to five hours of battery life.

Powered by a 500 MHz PowerPC G3 processor, the machine offers up to twice the onboard memory, twice the memory expansion, and twice the storage of previous models. Its new design is almost two pounds lighter and twice as durable as previous models, making it easier for students to cart around. Made of impact-resistant polycarbonate, the iBook has no protruding doors, latches, or levers to break or accidentally catch. Inside, it features a magnesium frame for extra strength and a rubber-mounted hard drive for impact resistance.

With its lithium-ion battery, which lasts up to five hours between charges, the new iBook is ideal for unplugged use in the classroom, library, cafeteria, at home, or on vacation. On iBook models with a CD-RW drive, students can save assignments to a CD for archiving. The are four models available, and prices for education customers start at $1,199.

More information can be obtained by calling (800) 800-2775 or visiting http://www.apple.com/education