Apple has announced an all-new affordable computer for education - the eMac.

Designed in the style of Apple's old-school iMacs, the all-white computer boasts a 17-inch flat CRT display and houses a 700MHz PowerPC G4 processor in an all-in-one design to fit school desks.

“Our education customers asked us to design a desktop computer specifically for them,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "The new eMac preserves the all-in-one compact enclosure that educators love."

At present, Apple is offering the eMac to education users only - as it did with 1997's short-lived eMate Newton-based education-only mini laptop.

Two models will available from June, each featuring 256K L2 cache, a 17-inch flat CRT display, an NVidia GeForce2 MX graphics card, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, and a 40GB Ultra ATA drive.

The entry-level model has a CD-ROM drive, and features 128MB RAM. It costs £729 (excluding VAT) to schools and colleges. The DVD/CD-RW drive model costs £879 with 128MB of RAM. It costs £1,114 with 512MB RAM and the eMac tilt-&-swivel stand.

However, only educational institutions have the full-range choice at those prices. Individual purchasers have the choice of just one, more expensive DVD/CD-RW eMac model - with different amounts of RAM available via the educational Apple Store.

Students and teachers can choose between a £917 (ex. VAT) eMac (128MB RAM, 40GB hard drive), and a £1,160 eMac (512MB RAM, 40GB hard drive, and eMac stand).

The eMac Tilt & Swivel Stand on its own costs £44.

Processor and memory The 700MHz G4 processor features 256K on-chip level 2 cache at full processor speed, running on a 100MHz system bus. The eMac ships with 128MB of PC100 SDRAM, with two DIMM slots supporting up to 1GB of RAM using 128MB, 256MB, or 512MB DIMMs.

Peripheral connections Ports include two 400Mbps FireWire (IEEE 1394) connections, and three USB 1.1 points.

Screen flexibility The eMac features five screen resolutions, 640-x-480 pixels at 138Hz, 800-x-600 pixels at 112Hz, 1,024-x-768 pixels at 89Hz, 1,152-x-864 pixels at 80Hz, and 1,280-x-960 pixels at 72Hz.

The range of screen resolutions gives teachers and students the flexibility to view large documents, two-page spreads, Web sites and other projects without having to waste time scrolling down to see the rest of the document, according to Apple.

Desk size As an added bonus, the eMac design is 8mm shorter than the 15-inch-CRT-based iMac.

Optical drive choices The eMac has a choice of two optical drives - either a CD-ROM for schools that prefer non-recordable drives, or a Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW).

Tilt and swivel The eMac incorporates a Tilt-&-Swivel stand designed especially for the computer by Apple. This allows users to tilt from -5 to +15 degrees up and down, and allows for 360-degree swivelling.

The eMac is AirPort equipped, and therefore ready for wireless networking.

Software The eMac ships with AppleWorks 6 and the Mac OS X edition of the World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia. It hosts both Mac OS 9 and OS X.

The computer’s dimensions can be ogled via a target="_blank">QuickTime VR.