Apple has struck an agreement to supply 23,000 iBooks to Henrico County Public Schools in the US.

Students and teachers from every middle school and high school in Henrico County, Virginia, will have their own iBook.

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs said: "This is mammoth – the single largest sale of portable computers in education ever. Apple is thrilled to partner with Henrico County Public Schools in their revolutionary initiative. When every student and teacher has access to wirelessly-networked mobile computing, learning reaches far beyond the classroom."

Support Mark Edwards, superintendent of Henrico County Public Schools, said: "We chose Apple’s iBook because our experience has shown that it costs significantly more to support other platforms. Apple’s iBook is the best product available to meet our instructional needs."

Jobs (illustrated) compared a heavier, less feature-filled Dell notebook to Apple's newly-launched iBook. "It's black and white," he quipped.

According to data analysts IDC, Apple was the leading supplier of portable computers in the US education market in 2000. Apple enjoyed an 18.2 per cent share of the US-education portable market, and achieved the largest annual growth in this segment of any vendor.

Statistics from IDC also demonstrate that portable growth (37 per cent) in the same year doubled that of the desktop market (15 per cent). This trend is forecast to continue.