updated 02:35 pm EDT, Wed July 27, 2011
Owensboro first to get MacBook Air in schools
Apple has already landed a key deal for the new MacBook Air in schools. As a result of $5 million in stimulus funding, public schools in Owensboro, Kentucky will be getting about 2,200 of the ultraportables for students between grades five and 12 as well as teachers and staff. The deal is the first for both the MacBook Air and for Lion, Apple said.
Staff are also being trained to make practical use of the notebooks and will have classes designed around the systems with audio and video elements.
Superintendent Dr. Larry Vick explained the choice of the Air as a virtue of the low maintenance inherent to the solid-state based Macs as well as the small size. The hope was to improve education for students as a whole, not just to meet the goals of standardized tests, he said.
The exact models weren't mentioned but are likely to be the 11-inch versions. Teachers already have their notebooks, although the students' systems might end up arriving partway into the fall semester, in October.
Apple has made a point of landing large deals for notebooks in schools in the past decade but could be one of the first to get a full-performance ultraportable into a large-scale educational purchase. It may also serve as a litmus test for the company's change in notebook strategy now that it has dropped the white MacBook, a system whose polycarbonate plastic existed in part to withstand the drops and other conditions of primary and secondary school. [Thanks, Matt]