Maine inks deal with Apple for 36,000 iBook G4 notebooks for students and teachers

The Maine Department of Education has signed a four-year, $41 million contract with Apple to continue to supply the technology, training, and support to Maine’s groundbreaking initiative that has equipped all the State’s 7th and 8th grade students and teachers with one-to-one access to wireless notebook computers and the Internet for the past 4 years.

According to Maine’s press release, the Initiative is still considered the single largest 1:1 educational technology program in the world. Maine’s Education Director of Special Projects, Bette Manchester notes, “The strength of the program is that the focus is on education. This is an educational project, not a technology project.”

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative has become a national and international model for 1:1 educational technology programs. Since its inception in 2002, many other U.S. states have implemented or are about to implement similar programs including Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New Hampshire, and North Dakota. In January of 2005, Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media lab cited Maine’s program in his announcement at the World Economic Summit of the creation of One Laptop Per Child initiative that is working to put laptops in the hands of millions of students around the world.

The iBook G4 will be the new Maine Learning Technology Initiative notebook replacing the original iBook G3 units. Each iBook will be powered by a 1.33 ghz G4 chip and loaded with 1 GB of system memory (8x more memory than the previous MLTI laptop), the MLTI iBook will run Apple’s Mac OS 10.4 Tiger operating system. The iBook G4 will come with a 40GB hard drive and feature built-in wireless networking capabilities via Airport Extreme, 801.11g. Airport Extreme wireless networking will provide up to 5x faster connections than the previous iBooks. Maine’s new iBooks also feature a slot-loading CDRW/DVD-ROM drive.

Maine’s wireless networks that were installed in 2002 will be upgraded. Wireless access points will be upgraded to Airport Extreme Base Stations (802.11g, 54Mbps), and switches will be replaced as well. Coverage areas will be expanded and the new network will have up to 5x more available bandwidth than the previous network for internal data transfers.

Included Software Titles:

• Mac OS 10.4 Tiger: Apple’s latest operating system. Each year as available, the MLTI solution will be upgraded to utilize the latest version of the Mac OS.
• Appleworks: Productivity suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, database, drawing, painting, and presentation.
• CyberDuck: CyberDuck is an open source, fully featured FTP/SFTP client. Users may use it to upload web pages to web servers and perform other file transfer needs. Offered to MLTI by the David Kocher, the creator of CyberDuck.
• Firefox: Fast and popular open source web browser.
• Garageband: Digital recording studio. Record and edit your own music or podcasts.
• Google Earth: Google Earth puts a planet’s worth of imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop. Offered to MLTI by Google Inc.
• GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP): Open source image editing program. Similar to Adobe Photoshop.
• Grapher: A 2D and 3D graphing calculator. Bundled with Mac OS X.
• iMovie HD: Movie editing software.
• iPhoto: Digital Photo management, image enhancement, and slideshows.
• iTunes: Digital music management and encoding.
• iWeb: Web page creation and publishing.
• Journler: A daily journal software package.
• Keynote: Presentation software.
• LiveDictionary with AudioAssisted Text: LiveDictionary is a Safari extension that adds fast, convenient dictionary lookups to the web. AudioAssistedText is a LiveDictionary plugin that allows you to point to a word in Safari and hear the word spoken in a human voice. Both titles offered to MLTI by the authors, Eloquent Software and MetaTheory.
• NeoOffice: Open source productivity suite. Create, open, edit, and save Microsoft office formatted files (.doc, .xls, .ppt).
• NetLogo: NetLogo is a programmable modeling environment for simulating natural and social phenomena. It is particularly well suited for modeling complex systems developing over time. Offered to MLTI by Uri Wilensky, the creator of NetLogo, Director of the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling.
• NoteShare Multimedia Digital Notebook: Create, organize, share, publish.
• Other: The MLTI image will also include a host of other titles including Mail, iChat, iCal, Address Book, iSync, Quicktime, etc.
• Pages: Word Processor and Page Layout. This document was created using Pages.
• PASCO DataStudio: Data analysis, graphing calculator.
• PASCO MyWorld GIS: A Geographic Information System for Inquiry-Based Learning. Query, plot and analyze geographic data such as climate, geology, biodiversity, population and more.
• Safari RSS: Web browser with RSS feed management.
• SketchUp Pro: 3D design software. Offered to MLTI by Google Inc.
• World Book Encyclopedia: The entire World Book Encyclopedia and more.

A more detailed summary of the terms of the contract is available on the website at

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Related article:
Maine’s Apple iBook program draws international attention – March 11, 2003


  1. I think that sounds like a great package, no doubt they’re getting the ibooks cheaper than they would have before the MacBook – making it an even better deal. Let’s face it for educational needs, as an accompaniment to teaching and iBook should be more than good enough for everyday needs.

  2. While the knee-jerk response is “WHAT…no MacBook Deal???” let’s take a look at the following…

    Apple can give Maine a better deal based on:
    – G4 iBook inventry flush based on product End Of Life (EOL)
    – Providing OS X and Windows/Linux/etc envornments is MORE of a hastle for support staff so just stick to OS X
    – Built in cameras could be distraction for educators during lessons (could these be disabled via the user profile?)

    Basically I think it comes down to Apple can give them a better price because it flushes out their old inventory while at the same time it doesn’t depleat high-demand MacBook supplies. Maine gets to save some money and/or use those monies for software or other hardware/support/etc.

  3. with a gig of RAM these will be adeqaute (since I don’t have kids, I can’t really comment on “adeqaute” being good enough, however)

    being they are g4s i’m betting they are “closeouts” and Maine is getting a great deal

    better than 36,000 Dull’s that’s for sure


  4. Actually, whether or not the G4 iBook is the latest and greatest isn’t the point. The point is it’s a damn fine laptop, compatible with existing equipment already in place, which everyone is familiar with. Also, a proven reliable and durable design. Plus I think they may have got a pretty good deal on the price, which is a plus for the taxpayers of the State.

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