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Apple Debuts eMac Classroom Computer

Here's a prediction: Apple Computer Inc.'s new desktop designed for education, the eMac, will encounter considerable demand from consumers as well as K-12 teachers, although the former can't buy it unless they submit proof that they home-school their kids.

Why? Because the eMac fixes the main problem with the original, aging iMac design, offering a high-resolution 17-inch (16-inch viewable) instead of squinty 15-inch CRT monitor, without the premium price of the current, 15-inch-LCD iMac -- it's $999.

Thanks to a flat-faced CRT and some clever redesign, the larger-screened eMac takes no more desk space than the old iMac -- in fact, its footprint is 8mm shorter. And instead of being limited to 1,024 by 768 pixels, the new CRT shows 16.7 million colors at up to 1,280 by 960 resolution (with a flicker-free 72Hz refresh rate), driven by a 32MB Nvidia GeForce2 MX graphics accelerator.

The eMac comes with the same 700MHz PowerPC G4 processor, 128MB of SDRAM (expandable to 1GB), 40GB hard disk, Mac OS 10.1, and AirPort 802.11b wireless plus 10/100Mbps wired networking support as base models of the glamorous new iMac. Two FireWire ports and five USB ports (three on the system, two on the keyboard) connect to printers, scanners, digital cameras, camcorders, or external storage devices.

The $999 eMac has a 32X CD-ROM drive; a $1,199 model offers a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive, as well as a 56Kbps modem. The software bundle includes AppleWorks, QuickTime, iMovie 2, iTunes 2, iPhoto, World Book Mac OS X Edition, and Mac OS 9.2 as well as OS X 10.1.

Eric Grevstad is managing editor of sister site, Hardware Central.