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Apple Unveils New iBook Laptop

Apple Computer Inc. unveiled a new iBook laptop Tuesday in a move it hopes will boost its fading share of the education market.

“Some people have wondered if our commitment to education was as strong as it once was. I can assure you, if anything, it’s stronger,” Steve Jobs (news – web sites), Apple’s chief executive, said during a briefing with reporters.

Apple last year lost its lead to Dell Computer Corp. in overall sales in the education sector, though it ranks first with an 18 percent market share among portable computers.

The new iBook is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, which was released in 1999, and touted as the first laptop designed for educators and students.

The new product, 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.

There are four models: it costs $1,299 for the one with a standard CD-ROM drive; $1,499 with a DVD-ROM drive; $1,599 with a CD-RW drive, and $1,799 with a drive that can read DVDs and record CDs.

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