When Apple first announced the eMac for the education market on April 29, the all-in-one computer came equipped with a CD-ROM drive or an optional CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive. Missing from this system was the company’s popular SuperDrive, which adds the capability to record DVDs.
On June 4, Apple released the system to the general public, but only with a CD-RW configuration. Zettabyte Solutions last week changed that by offering a SuperDrive equipped eMac for sale from the company’s Web site.
Chris Thompson from Zettabyte said that he noticed that many people posting on forums wanted an eMac with a combo drive or a SuperDrive, so he decided to make it happen.
“The response has been overwhelming — we are looking at a five-day backorder right now,” Thompson told MacCentral. “We have approximately 30-40 units going out a day.”
Being an Apple authorized reseller, Thompson said that Zettabyte buys the systems from Apple, reconfigures them by adding the SuperDrive and then ships them out to customers. Zettabyte also includes a copy of iDVD on each system and ships the disk in the box.
However, representatives from Apple have confirmed that if you buy one of the SuperDrive equipped eMacs, your Apple warranty will be void.
“It does void the Apple warranty, but we match the exact same Apple one-year warranty that they provided with the system,” said Thompson. “We provide free shipping if there’s a problem; you can ship your eMac back to us and we’ll fix it free of charge and then ship it back out to the customer. If it needs replacement, then we’ll replace it. We also warranty the drive and labor for one-year.”
If you already have an eMac and want to upgrade it with a SuperDrive, Zettabyte is working on a solution for that, too. The company plans to offer two upgrade options for people with existing eMacs.
Zettabyte will offer customers the option to send their computers to them and have a SuperDrive installed — this option carriers a one-year warranty. The second option is an upgrade kit that will be shipped to customers that they can install themselves — this option does not include a warranty.
Interest for the SuperDrive eMac has spread from consumers to schools, according to Thompson. Not all of the schools contacting Zettabyte are looking for a SuperDrive; some are just interesting in removing the CD-RW with another optical drive.
“Schools have contacted us and asked if we would put DVD-ROM drives in place of the CD-RWs so the students wouldn’t be able to pirate any software from the machine. They want a read-only solution and the only thing available is the CD-ROM — one IT person said he sees more future in DVD-ROMs than CD-ROMs.”
Zettabyte currently offers two configurations of the eMac ranging in price from US$1099 for the CD-RW model to $1499 for the SuperDrive equipped model.