Schools in Schaumburg, Illinois are celebrating the arrival of Apple iBooks in the largest laptop distribution programme ever in Illnois, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

The first wave of 1,735 laptops arrived in seven schools this week. By next autumn every pupil aged between 9-11 in the Schaumburg area will have an iBook at school and at home – a total of 5,200 iBooks.

The programme budget of $6.6 million includes wireless Internet access and 21 digital-video cameras.

Schaumburg superintenent for schools Lynne Rauch said: “The aim is to introduce students to laptops as early as they can grasp the technology, and steer them towards non-fiction via the Internet when those age groups typically shy from that type of reading.”

Although Dell is still number one in the US education market, Apple is now the top notebook vendor in that market, according to Apple's chief financial officer, Fred Anderson, speaking at the US Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Board last week.

In his speech Anderson said: “Apple has seen notebook education sales increase from 24 per cent in 2002 to 30 per cent in 2003, and Apple's US education market share has climbed from 15 to 16 per cent quarter-on-quarter.”