iBook's coming out party was held at Apple's headquarters and hosted by CEO Steve Jobs.
Jobs said: "This is the first notebook designed expressly for teachers and students – nobody has ever set out to design a notebook for them." He also announced a major deal with a US education district – signalling the start of Apple's aggressive campaign to regain market share in the US education sector.
Education, education, education "The future of education is wirelessly networked notebooks," said Jobs.
Martin Reynolds, California-based research fellow with the Gartner Group, said: "This does look like a breakthrough. It's just like a portable iMac.
"Apple has found it tough persuading Windows users to switch to the Apple platform, but the company may succeed in getting some of its existing iMac users to treat themselves to an upgrade to the new iBook"
He added: "If your iMac is two years old, you might be willing to make the switch. It's really slick, and the price and feature set are what makes it so attractive."
Viable video The price difference between an iMac and an iBook has been reduced to within a couple of hundred dollars, Reynolds noted, "and video editing can now be done on a portable device", he added.
The new iBook is "twice as durable as the last one", Jobs said, noting that it has a magnesium frame and a polycarbonate plastic body. "This is the same stuff they make bullet-proof vests from," he quipped.
He said the iBook will become "the centre of your digital lifestyle", acting as a digital hub for editing and storing content from devices such as digital-video cameras and music players. The iBook will ship in mid-May.
OS X burning Jobs also announced an update (Version 10.0.2), which lets users burn their own CDs, to Mac OS X is available for download from Apple's Web site.
On the update Jobs said: "There are always bugs we need to fix and features we need to add. We've already shipped our first update. We said we'd have a second update – here it is."
Apple has also updated iTunes for Mac OS X – it now supports full-screen visualizations in the same way as the Mac OS 9 version.