More than 60 schools are now putting a classroom lap-top computer through its paces. They are taking part in an evaluation of Apple's eMate, to identify the areas in the UK curriculum to which it is most suited. "The feedback so far has been excellent," says a spokeswoman for Xemplar, which markets Apple and Acorn products for schools.
Apple's first lap-top for students - the eMate 300 - comes with a description not unlike those normally associated with designer sports cars: soft rounded corners, steel chassis, spring suspension mounting and reinforcing ribs to protect against drops and twists, and to minimise the shock of impact. Not surprising since it was designed by the person responsible for the interior of the Porsche Boxster.
The see-through, green eMate weighs very little, has a battery life of 28 hours, a full-size keyboard and backlighting for its grey-scale LCD screen. Instead of a mouse, you use an eMate "pen" to draw, move and build on-screen graphics and write on the touch-sensitive screen. It can even recognise your handwriting and turn it into type.
Based on Apple's hand-held Newton computer, it features a 25Mhz ARM 710a RISC processor and a host of gadgets including connections to to almost any desktop computer, printers and mobile phones.
The eMate has a screen that can display information vertically or horizontally, and can beam data to other eMates via its short-range infrared port.
* Lap-top computer. Introductory offer to schools and parents: Pounds 450 plus VAT;Pounds 400 each for set of eight. From Xemplar Education Limited, The Quorum, Barnwell Road, Cambridge CB5 8RE. Tel: 01223 724724