You don't need Nikon Capture to process NEF files. The camera will come with a new version of Nikon View that will include a Photoshop plug-in to do NEF conversion, plus I'd expect the authors of QImage and Bibble to update their applications to support the camera once it becomes available.
Using NEF files can make a big difference to the colour rendition. The original D1 had some serious issues in this area when producing JPEGs or TIFFs and I never liked the look of its output. Switching to NEFs and using QImage to process them made a colossal difference to the colour accuracy, and gave better resolution as well.