Kihei Revisited

I’ve had some time to watch the Kihei iMac/Mac OS 9 announcement online and read the Kihei developer notes. I’m more impressed with the new iMacs than ever.

Hardware

graphite iMacThe sad news: According to the developer notes, the VGA port on the iMac DV and Special Edition only support the same resolutions (640 x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768) as the internal monitor. So much for attaching a nice 19-21″ external monitor and working at 1280 x 1024. 🙁

On the other hand, maybe someone will develop a workaround – RAGE 128 is certainly capable of supporting higher resolutions.

And that does seem to be the only fly in the ointment, and only one a geek would care about. (Guilty as charged.)

The good news: The new iMacs use less costly PC100 memory, have easy access to the memory slots, and can handle 512 MB of RAM. [Update: When 512 MB memory sticks became available, it was found that they work, allowing up to 1 GB of system memory in the slot-load iMacs!]

The mind-boggling speculation: Mac OS Rumors has been reporting that it may be possible to drop a G4 CPU into Kihei, and possibly even a dual- or quad-processor G4 upgrade. If so, Kihei would eat Pentium IIIs and Itaniums (the chip formerly known as Merced) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Wetware

Wetware – that’s the brain, not the computer. Apple is marketing the iMac as an appliance, not a geeky toy or hardware maven’s dream machine. The iMac, especially with OS 9, is an internet appliance. And with iMovie, it’s the perfect accessory for anyone who owns a digital camcorder.

These are people who have probably spent $1,500 to $3,000 for a digital camcorder. They are early adopters, users who tend to invest in technology before it becomes widespread. And they are naturals for the iMac DV and DV Special Edition (SE) – especially the Special Edition with its huge 13 GB hard drive, 128 MB of memory, and iMovie software. Digital movie editing has never been easier, and DV camcorders with FireWire or i.Link (Sony’s name for it) can connect to the DV and DV SE with a single cable.

If nobody else insists on the SE, these people alone will drive it to success. It’s the perfect high tech gadget for the digital video user. It’s as easy to use as a camcorder – and they can share their results as QuickTime movies, on the iMac, or record them to videotape, so there are three easy ways to share their movies with their friends.

All the talk of OS 9 and RAGE 128 pales compared with Apple’s latest niche. That’s because Apple will own the DV niche by Christmas. Wintel companies won’t have a chance. Windows users would gladly pay $1,500 for a digital editing station, and now they can discover the Mac ease of use and maybe, just maybe, never buy another Windows computer again.

Niches have made Apple what it is. Niches are responsible for building the new Apple because niches target specific users with specific applications. Ten years ago, it was mostly desktop publishing. With the iMac, it was the easy-to-use internet appliance. With Kihei, it’s digital video.

Apple already has more mindshare than any other computer company. Perhaps only Sony has a more recognized brand name. Apple is finally taking advantage of that by integrating the Mac/iMac, the Mac OS, and consumer electronics (especially digital video) in the new generation of iMacs.

For those who want an easy-to-use computer, Apple makes the iMac.

For those who want an internet-ready computer, Apple makes the iMac.

For those who want to edit digital video, Apple makes the iMac DV in both regular and special editions.

They’re all winners destined to further grow Apple’s market share.

keywords: #kiheiimac #digitalvideo #imacdv #imacdvse #imovie