Students get run of Apple stores

Apple Computer is letting a bunch of kids take over its stores.

Aiming to show off what it can do for schools, Apple is letting students and teachers hold open houses in its retail stores to show parents the schoolwork they have done on a Mac.

Apple has set aside every Tuesday and Wednesday through the end of May at each of its 53 stores for "School Night at the Apple Store" program. Parents who buy a Mac at the store during the next month will save $50, plus the school gets a $50 credit toward future Apple purchases.

The move aims to boost Apple's fortunes in the education market and allow the company to make better use of its growing network of retail stores.

At the school nights, which are set to start next week, a teacher will make a brief presentation and then about 10 students will log on to the Macs in the store and show off the projects they have been working on. Apple demonstrated the concept at seven stores this week, drawing as many as 150 parents and teachers at the largest events.

"The key in retailing is to continually improve the store and to find new ways to make it exciting," said Ron Johnson, the former Target Stores executive that runs Apple's retail effort. "This is one way of doing it."

Plus, the education market is seen as critical for Apple. For some time now, Dell Computer has been shipping more computers to schools than has Apple. A new IDC study found that this school year--for the first time--more Dell desktops were in use at U.S. schools than were Apple desktops. However, there are still more Apple notebooks than Dell laptops, according to IDC analyst Ray Boggs.

News source: C|net

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