iBook Decision

Well, we have a decision on the iBooks.

It appears that there will not be an announcement of the new MacBooks today, and there may not be for a week or two. In some ways, this makes the decision easier.

iBook G4Basically, there’s a risk that the current G4 12 inch iBooks will become unavailable as soon as the Intel models are announced. There’s also a solid chance the replacement models could be 10% more in cost because of the Intel chip and a possible 13 inch wide aspect screen. Additionally, Apple normally does not discount volume orders of brand new models as much as established models, and this could be another 10% price increase for us. Finally, the Rev A MacBook Pros appear to have had hardware issues, and that makes us nervous about Rev A MacBooks…

So, if we were planning on a price point similar to last year, we wanted about 127 iBooks for all three divisions. If there is a solid chance of a 20% jump in price per unit because of the model change and lost discounts, then the impact on our budget could be substantial. Thus, we’ve worked out a 90 days same as cash arrangement with Apple, and we’re opting for the current iBooks for next year (along with two Xserves, four iMacs, etc, which are also discounted when the large order is made).

Next year, the Intel MacBooks may still be 10% more than the current iBooks, but it’s likely we’d have the additional 10% volume discount back, which will reduce the impact of the increased price. Another benefit is that we don’t have to “upgrade” the current teachers’ iBooks to match the students, and our imaging plans and laptop cases will not have to be changed this summer.

We’re purchasing two Xserves so that one can be the dedicated Workgroup Manager for the program (170 iBooks) and the other can be the dedicated file server (so we can have Portable Home Directories). The trick will be to have Active Directory authentication, Portable Home Directories, and then auto-mounting of these directories when kids occasionally log into Windows machines on campus.

Simple, right?

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