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Apple trims eMac price

The computer maker fits a speedier SuperDrive into its top-of-the-line eMac, while dropping the computer's price by $100.

Apple Computer introduced an updated version of its eMac desktop system Tuesday, adding a faster processor and speedier DVD-burning capabilities.

The latest version of the eMac, part of Apple's effort to instill brand loyalty among educators and school children, features both internal component upgrades as well as a lower price tag. The education market has long been a stronghold for Apple, though other companies have been making inroads.

"(The eMac) is a very important system for us, as it remains our most popular desktop for schools and homes with children," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of hardware product marketing. "We think that it's a great fit for kids, and we continue to add functionality that we believe makes it an affordable, easy-to-use, digital hub for all sorts of activities."

The new model, a revamp of Apple's top-end eMac, is the first of the line to offer the company's 8x SuperDrive DVD recorder/CD burner, and it features a 1.25GHz processor, a step up from Apple's previous 1GHz machines. The upgraded eMac features 333MHz DDR memory, faster graphics and USB 2.0 ports. The computers will retail for $999, representing a drop of $100 off Apple's current pricing for its most powerful eMacs. The company will continue to offer a $799 version of the desktop with a smaller hard drive and no SuperDrive.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple also began offering an optional internal Bluetooth module, a built-in antenna and a card slot to support wireless networking for new eMacs. Other options include 1GB of RAM, as well as 80GB and 160GB hard drives. The computers come with Apple's latest operating system, dubbed Panther, and offer additional applications aimed at helping users create, view and listen to movies and music files.