Elo TouchSystems wooed the Macworld Expo crowds as it displayed its revolutionary 350MHz touch-screen iMacs, which it will offer to the European market “within four weeks”.

The company holds 50 per cent of the global market for touch-screen technology, MicroTouch is its nearest competitor. The touchable iMacs use soundwaves cast across the screen to activate sensors - accurate to within a fraction of a millimetre.

The technology offers Apple new openings in the kiosk and educational markets. The core technology is called “Surface acoustic wave”. Touch-enabled iMacs have been available in the US for some time now.

Elo is now an approved VAR (Value Added Reseller) in Apple US’s educational solution provider programme. In Europe, however, Elo does not have the same status. Apple sells iMacs direct to Elo for conversion, but only for the American market. In order to sell touch-screen iMacs in Europe, Elo has had to buy iMacs in Europe to ship to its facilities in California - then back to Europe again.

iMacs with iTouch technology offer style and simplicity to people who want to set up kiosks, or educational software for children, according to the company. A spokesman said negotiations are in progress with WH Smith to use these machines as the core of a future “burn your own CDs” project.

Touch-screen iMacs are expected to ship in Europe next month (in limited supplies), and will retail here at approximately $1915. The price in UK sterling is unavailable at this time.

For all the news from Macworld Expo 2000, San Francisco, go to Macworld’s round-up pages.