Almost immediately after discontinuing the white plastic MacBook once and for all, Apple has replaced it with a MacBook Air designed for educational sales. The 13-inch model costs the same US$999 as the MacBook it replaces.
This 13-inch MacBook Air, which will only be sold to educational institutions, is the same price as the entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air sold to consumers. With the exception of its larger, higher-resolution display, the education-model 13-inch MacBook Air also has precisely the same specs as its diminutive counterpart: 1.6 GHz Intel i5 processor, 2 GB of (non-upgradable) RAM, and 64 GB of onboard flash memory.
Apple will offer this model in a five-pack bundle for $4995. 10- or 20-pack bundles complete with an AirPort Extreme and a nifty laptop cart with a built-in charging station are also available, at $11,399 for the 10-pack and $21,599 for the 20-pack.
Given the somewhat lackluster specs of this MacBook Air, especially compared to the MacBook it replaces, and considering Apple's recent push to get iPads in the classroom, it will be interesting to see whether or not this new education-model MacBook Air catches on in schools. For just $1400 more than the 20-pack MacBook Air bundle, a school could purchase a PowerSync cart and a 30-pack bundle of 64 GB iPad 2 units, all of them capable of displaying digital textbooks created in iBooks Author.