Chips with the lot for classrooms

1st November 1996 at 00:00
Chic met chip this week when Apple Computer unveiled a sleek students' computer, thought to be the first laptop designed specifically for education. The eMate 300, designed by the Italian designer who sculpted the interior of the latest Porsche, is likely to be the most desirable designer technology yet seen in a classroom.

At its preview in London last week, educational consultant Roger Broady described it as "a revolutionary product" that could have significant effects on pupil:computer ratios and home-school links.

The eMate opens in the usual "clamshell" laptop style but, with its rounded, shock-proofed contours, it resembles a bulging mini attache case. It is a sturdy set-up in green translucent plastic, although bulk orders allow customised colours and livery. The modular design means that damaged parts can easily be replaced by non-nerds. It is relatively light and the batteries give power for up to 28 hours before it needs a recharge. The infrared technology allows teachers to "beam" worksheets into students' machines.

For those wondering whether it is a Macintosh or a Windows machine, it is neither - it uses Apple's Newton technology, marrying typical computer keyboard functions with a touch-screen and stylus that enable students to add drawings and handwritten notes to their work.

Schools using Windows and Mac computers can link the eMate to their machines to transfer information. Xemplar, the joint AcornMac schools supplier, is expected to provide a link for Acorn computers.

The eMate has built-in software to do the things that students are expected to do for IT in the curriculum.

The concept has been proven by the success in schools of the Psion Series 3aAcorn Pocket Book, a palmtop computer that can also tranfer data to and from most of the computers in classrooms.

On sale for US schools in January (at $800), it should reach Britain by spring.

* Apple Computer, 6 Roundwood Avenue, Stockley Park, Uxbridge UB11 1BB. Tel: 0181 569 1199

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today