iMac DV

There is now a range of three different models of iMac, designed for different customers and different budgets. The most significant of these is the iMac DV. Having proven it could sell a simple Plug and Play appliance for Internet access, Apple now feels the next killer application for the home is digital video (remember that Steve Jobs's other company is Pixar, the maker of Toy Story). iMac DV adds hardware and software tools to make home video editing simple.

Still available in five "fruity" colours, the iMac DV is more translucent than previous iMacs, largely because the shielding behind the picture tube has been removed through better design. The key addition is two FireWire ports, allowing easy connection to a wide range of digital camcorders now available. This hardware is complemented by the iMovie editing software, which takes digital video streams directly from the camcorder, without the compression and "loss" associated with conventional video editing solutions. The iMovie interface is designed to match the QuickTime 4 Player, and is reasonably easy to use once you get the hang of it.iMac DV also adds a slot-loading DVD-ROM drive (also capable of using CD-ROMs, of course). Having a slot rather than a tray adds another elegant bit of styling to the iMac, but I would have preferred Apple to include some DVD decoding hardware. Software decoding often leads to a jerky picture and poor lip synch when watching DVD movies.

At the top of the iMac range is the iMac DV Special Edition, which has 128MB of RAM to the iMac DV's 64MB, and a 13GB hard drive instead of the standard 10GB. The Special Edition also comes in a very cool "graphite" enclosure ("black" to you and me). Serious Mac aficionados way well find the $2995 price tag reasonable for these enhancements.

If Apple has guessed right, and digital home video is the next killer app, iMac DV could be a winner.iMac DVPrice: $2495Distributor: ApplePhone: 13 3622URL: www.apple.com.au

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