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Kihei iMac Design Revealed! (Images!)

We like to believe that we are men of our word, and therefore, without further ado, we present, below, a series of Apple Computer, Inc., vector-based sketches of the up-and-coming iMac personal computer, which is code-named Kihei. A full explanation of the many changes in industrial design can be read in our previous report.

For some time we've been disputing the rumor that Apple would offer the new iMac in multiple configurations. However, the same sources who were kind enough to provide us with the images (see below) have informed us that Apple's plans have gone from offering one, to two, and just recently (last week) three configurations of the new unit within a month's time. It may be slightly reassuring to know that they will be providing two of these configurations in a single color only! According to sources, the three configurations will be referred to as "Good," "Better," and "Best."

Configuration 1:

The main (Better) configuration for the new units will be a 400MHz G3, 100MHz system bus, 64MB of RAM, 4x DVD-ROM (no tray!), 10GB hard disk, 2x AGP sporting a ATI Rage 128 card with 8MB SGRAM, a much-improved 15" (13.8" viewable) short-neck CRT display capable of supporting up to 1024x728 in 24-bit color, 2 FireWire ports, 2 USB ports (12Mbps each), a 56K hardware modem, 10/100baseT ethernet, AirPort card slot (in rear of unit), an improved Odyssey sound system using licensed technology (speakers are slightly larger with bass ports in the front of the machine), audio-in and two headphone jacks on the front left of the machine, and RGB video-out, supporting video mirroring. This configuration will ship in 5 flavors.


Configuration 2:

The low-cost (Good) configuration is said to ship with a 350MHz G3 processor and 100MHz system bus, but will lack FireWire ports (though the board will contain a FireWire bus), video-out, and a DVD drive. Instead, this configuration will feature a CD-ROM drive, also trayless. This configuration is said to be made available in blueberry only, and will cost significantly less than the "Better" configuration.

Configuration 3:

Finally, our sources report that Apple will offer a high-end (Best) 400MHz, 128MB of RAM, 13GB hard disk configuration that includes everything else from the "Better" configuration. This config will be available in Graphite (the color of the new Power Macintosh G4) and is expected to cost more than the other two configurations. All three configurations will share identical enclosures, and due to the new short-neck CRT display, are said to be noticeably smaller and lighter than the current iMacs. There is no word on whether Apple will offer the "Best" configuration outside of the Apple Online Store.

It seems odd that Apple would ship an iMac with 128MB of RAM, or even ship three configurations at all — but sources have been reliable so far. Apparently, Apple toyed with and altered the configurations a number of times up until 2 days before the new units went into limited production last Wednesday. The three configurations will produce a total of 7 different products (5 colors for the "Better" config, 1 for the "Good" config, and 1 for the "Best" config).

DVD playback on the new units will be through a new version of Apple's DVD Player software (version 2.0), while the MPEG2 decoding will be done by a new ATI software extension, sources say. The sound control panel has also been separated from the "Monitors & Sound" control panel. Meanwhile, the new sound system is said to be a drastic improvement over the current iMacs. As rumored in previous reports, the entire custom system software pack is indeed code-named "Borg.

As we've mentioned in the past, the new units are expected to debut sometime in October or the first week of November at an Apple Media Event. With some luck, we hope to post a couple of full-color photographs of an actual pre-production Kihei iMac sometime in the near future (high-quality images of the sketches seen above will also be posted at or before this time), so keep your dial tuned to AppleInsider.com.

Remember, you heard (and saw) it here first.