State of Maine awards middle school contract to Apple Computer for 34,000 iBooks

The State of Maine Division of Purchases and the Maine Department of Education announced today that Apple Computer, Inc. was selected as the top-scoring bidder for services and equipment for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. The Department issued a request for proposals on January 13, 2006 for a four-year agreement to provide personal, portable computing devices with suitable basic applications for all 7th and 8th grade students and teachers [34,000 iBooks according to reports], along with upgraded wireless networks for all participating middle schools, appropriate server capacity, training and technical support.

This award is a final decision, subject to State Purchases Review Committee approval and final legislative approval of the Department’s budget. The Department will now enter into negotiations with Apple Computer, Inc. in order to finalize the terms and conditions of the agreement for the services and equipment for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative.

Under the current timelines and subject to final legislative approval of the Department’s budget, the Department intends to deploy new laptop computers to teachers, librarians, principals and technology coordinators in the summer of 2006 to begin preparing for the 2006-7 school year. New laptop computers for all grade 7 and 8 public middle school students will be issued at the start of the school year. In all, the Department estimates that over 36,000 laptops will be deployed.

“We are pleased with the strong educational focus of Apple’s proposal, and we look forward to a continued partnership in providing the students of Maine the tools and resources for the 21st Century,” commented Bette Manchester, Director of Special Projects for the Department of Education, in a statement.

An overview of the components of the bid as proposed by Apple Computer:
• Professional Development: Summer 2006 training for teachers, principals and tech coordinators and ongoing professional development.
• Per Seat Cost: $289
• Device Description: Apple iBook 12.1”, 1.33 Ghz G4, 1GB RAM, 40 GB, 802.11b/g, 10/100 ethernet, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, slot-load CDRW-DVD ROM (24x CD-R, 16x CDRW, 8x DVD-ROM, 24x CD-ROM), 4.9 lbs
• Applications: Pages, Appleworks, Mail, Dictionary & Thesaurus, Grapher, Keynote, iWeb, iMovie HD, iPhoto, iDVD, GarageBand, iTunes, Safari, iChatAV, iCal, Preview (, NoteTaker (, NeoOffice (, Pasco DataStudio (, GRASS GIS (, GIMP (, World Book Encyclopedia (, Journler (, Anti-virus software
• Communication: Mac OS X Server hosted POP accounts for all users, private messaging accounts inside StudyWiz hosted environment for all users
• Collaboration: Hosted StudyWiz environment (
• Software Updating: Apple Remote Desktop, 2 admin licenses per school
• Software Restore: MLTI Firewire Restore method. 1 drive per 30 student devices deployed.
• Operating System: Mac OS 10.4.x, Apple Maintenance Program, includes all Operating System revisions for the term of the contract.
• Wireless Network: Apple will expand network coverage as necessary to meet requirements. Will upgrade all switches and access points (Airport Extreme, 802.11g). If necessary, Apple will use PoE.
• Support: Extended warranty coverage for the term of the contract. Spare devices allocated to each school. Apple will provide 1-800 Help Desk services.
• Backups: Users have off-site storage using backup solution software, 100MB per student, 500 MB per teacher

Updates and background information regarding the Maine Learning Technology Initiative are available on the website at

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Related article:
Maine looks to continue statewide 34,000 Apple iBooks in middle schools program – December 28, 2005


  1. That’s great to hear. I was interested in the fact that Gimp and NeoOffice was included. It is great to see open source software becoming part of these packages. The students are going to have quite a choice of applications to get the job done. Write a document, hmmm, NeoOffice, Appleworks, of Pages. Images, movies, and audio apps in abundance. This seems like a pretty sweet deal for the students.

  2. Thats awesome. I currently attend a private high school. 2 years ago they implemented a major technology advancement. Each student receives an Acer(awful) and the whole school is wireless. I would so love to have this program at my school compared to the Tablet PC program. Being an iBook owner, I hate having to even touch my Acer. The best part about the Maine program is the 1GB of RAM and all the software and options the students will have. My school currently gives us an e-mail account and “unlimited” storage, which has proven to be a nightmare!! I am also happy to see that the open source software is being implemented in the deal.

  3. Great deal, but honestly, why the heck are they not giving these kids Microsoft Office too? Don’t get me wrong, I HATE Office, but I’m forced to use it everyday (advertising) and, likewise, these kids will need to know it before they join the workforce.


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