Another Update: Sony releases what I believe is a PC version of iLife using their own software. Check it out here.
I’ve been working on the laptop a lot recently, me and my peeps have been busy shooting video, taking pictures and working on music for podcasts. During all of this work (in addition to working at the cube mines) I’ve been thinking about all of the cool iApps that Apple has released in iLife. While I’m not switching to Apple computers anytime soon (if ever, I’m quite happy with the hardware I’ve got – my SXGA screen is very nice for video and photo editing), I am intrigued by apps like GarageBand and iMovie. (the other programs I can pass on, I’ve got Dreamweaver and I don’t need iPhoto. And isn’t iBook the former generation of the MacBook?)
Working on a PC platform, I’ve got Premier Elements (PC’s version of iMovie) and Sony’s Sound Forge 8 and Acid XPress 5 ACID Music Studio 7.0 (the closest thing to GarageBand) to make up for not having those apps. But there is a little bit of a learning curve to these applications that Apple people keep telling me isn’t there for Apple’s iLife apps. And working on a few podcasts for the near future (stay tuned) I’d like to have the interconnection between applications that Apple has and these apps don’t have yet. (especially for enhanced/video podcasts I’d like to work on).
One area that Apple has jumped on, and the Windows/PC crowd are far behind on, is designing their applications to take advantage of the burgeoning social media movement. However, how many people can really justify buying an Apple computer to just use a handful of applications that they would be willing to pay for?
But this would stop people from buying Apple computers!
Let’s be honest, the iLife suite is nothing more than some stripped down, grandma-ware versions of Apple’s robust video, audio and photo editing software. The fact that this package is so tightly integrated and works great for social media needs makes it desirable.
The smart thing for Apple to do would be to leave those robust packages available only for people on Apple hardware and to provide the stripped down versions to people on PC platforms as well as Apple. If people want to buy Apple hardware, it’s probably for more than just the iLife applications – they are probably using Final Cut and Aperture already.
These people already know how Apple’s hardcore design applications work, and the integration you see in iLife also applies to these applications – they work great together! But that integration, in a bundle of intro-ware packages, aren’t enough to justify the purchase of a new computer.
(Now, don’t start with the It Just Works line of marketing BS, or I’ll have to tell you the story of how I tried to plug my video camera into my Mom’s Apple the last time I was over at her house and nothing happened, yet when I plugged the same camera into my laptop it connected right away, Mmmkay?)
Plus releasing the iLife suite to the PC Platform would boost Apple’s bottom line, since I’m willing to bet that there are a lot of people out there like me – unwilling to buy the Apple hardware (again, there is no real difference between Apple hardware and other computer maker’s hardware – they are all made in the same handful of plants in China) but willing to buy Apple’s applications. Just examine the dominance of iTunes in the PC crowd, and look at how that boosted the sales of iPods for Apple.
If the Apple brain trust (aka Steve Jobs) wants to increase their profit margin, while not significantly (if at all) impacting their hardware sales, then they might want to examine the benefits of making iLife available to the great, unwashed masses that apparently Jobs thinks of anyone not using his great masterpiece.
Unless those great software artists at Apple aren’t up to the task of designing software for anything other than the proprietary, closed system that Jobs and Apple have created. I guess writing code is more of a challenge and less artistic when you have to write for more than one hardware platform…