iLife: Worth the Price?

by Jason Deraleau

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Tomorrow the updated versions of Apple's iApps will be released. Officially branded as iLife, the suite is composed of iDVD 3, iMovie 3, iPhoto 2 and iTunes 3. While the last of these is currently available, the other three have been updated with a host of new features and given the "full number upgrade." iDVD has been updated to include new themes; iPhoto has gained one-click picture enhancement and a cloning brush; and iMovie now comes with new effects, transitions, and chapters.

The real beauty of iLife, however, doesn't come in the form of these new items, but instead comes from the tight integration between the components. Exporting your home movie from iMovie to iDVD is quick and simple. Want a still photo in your movie? Just add it from iPhoto with a few clicks. Need a soundtrack for your masterpiece? Choose from your iTunes library right in iMovie. The seamless communication between the components of iLife brings working with digital media to a whole new level of convenience.

The buzz before the Keynote was full of rumors of a $50 charge for the upgrades. Users were in an uproar at the prospect of having to pay for the newest versions. Even though Apple has charged for iApp updates in the past, Jobs decided to offer the iMovie and iPhoto updates for free. Acording to the rumor site Think Secret, this was a last minute decision after the negative feedback seen in the Mac community. I would guess that the majority of Mac users do not have SuperDrives, so they are not concerned with the iDVD update. They will want the iMovie and iPhoto updates the most. By deciding to give away the iMovie and iPhoto updates, Apple has lowered the potential income of the iLife suite considerably.

Personally, I have mixed feelings on this. I plan to buy iLife for the $50 regardless, because I want to support a company that I hope continues to stay in business. Plus it is easier to drive 15 minutes to the mall and buy it at my local Apple store than setting my Macs up to download the large iMovie and iPhoto updates. My only gripe is that iDVD doesn't support external DVD burners, so I won't be able to burn movies on my September-new PowerBook. Maybe Apple will start selling a self branded FW SuperDrive that comes bundled with iLife. More likely I'll buy another PowerBook come Seybold :)

Do you plan to buy iLife?


2003-01-24 08:08:43
Insanely Great Price
Basically what they're selling is iDVD, with the other free-to-download apps. This is a good thing, it's low priced, makes complete sense from a business standpoint and for customers without broadband. Apple seems like they're testing the low priced market when they do things like this. I dont know how you can not see the value in FCE the 12" Powerbook and iLife, keynote I'm not so sure about. Overall I think this will be a big success for the company a nice cash infusion for coming 970 powermac updates.
2003-01-24 08:39:41
I'll buy iLife
I want to support Apple. I'm glad they've made the most popular items free. This allows Apple to spread good will among the community while allowing their supporters to give them money for the apps if they feel it's worth the money. Give to the Steve Jobs fund! :)
2003-01-24 10:07:27
iLife will not be out tomorrow
The news sites I've looked at say that iLife will not be out until the 31st. The release got pushed back.

2003-01-24 10:14:30
Now that Apple is selling IDVD3, they should make it compatible with external firewire Pioneer A05 4x drives. I also bought the pre superdrive PowerBook (for a lot more money than the subsequent DVD burning capable model). Quite frankly, the 1.5 hour burn on a PowerBook is not practical for a portable anyway. A 4x burner takes 15 minutes and is much more suitable for the road. I suppose Apple wants us to continue buying new, rather than allowing modular upgrades.
In a nutshell I would buy iDVD at a higher price if it were compatible with the external burner...isn't that reasonable Apple?!
2003-01-24 13:41:01
I won't be buying
I won't be buying iLife because I do not have an internal superdrive. Apple has a single-minded paradigm of making it's money from hardware. Microsoft has proven that more money is made from Applications. Apple is loosing millions by refusing to support external drives with iDVD. They could sell the current version of iLife for $50 and sell another version for $100 that supported external drives and more than triple the income from iLife.

Of course they could have provided a reasonable upgrade path to 10.2 and doubled their profit on that one as well.

Same old Apple.....great products, lousy marketting model. While I, too, want Apple to remain in business, I find that I don't have the deep pockets required to buy products I cannot use.

BTW: I have an external Superdrive, but before I spend $1000 for DVD Studio Pro, I'll buy a new machine with an internal superdrive and before I'll buy that, I'll have to outgrow my old machines and be able to afford one with a superdrive. In the meantime, any profit Apple could make from me because I have an external drive that is not supported by their product is profit they have lost.

That loss is scored in the "loss" column on the balance sheet.

Apple keeps "arguing with the customer". Any good salesman knows this is "bad business".

2003-01-24 14:41:20
Ordered the day of keynote
I ordered my copy the day of the keynote speech. bummed that it has been delayed. The price is right as long as updates for iDvd are free for a while.
2003-01-25 06:14:03
Mixed feelings on it.
I really rather buy a copy of bbedit, and with disposable incomes being what they are I'd really only by one if any.

I'd also like to think that Apple wouldn't crush other independant publishers with further iapps (safari) if iLife becomes a nice cash cow. But, I doubt it. I love my ibook, but I'd hate to encourage that.

Besides, charging for software is so early 90's! 8^)

2003-01-25 10:34:45
I'm buying it. I want Apple to stay in business and keep pumping out these great products.
2003-01-26 07:04:11
Re: I-Life
I'm in the same boat you are. I bought an 800MHz TiBook in September of last year. About a month before the 1GHz and SuperDrive updates. That didn't bug me as much as the fact that the new model was cheaper than what I paid for my model _with_ an education discount. Que serra serra I suppose. I'm hoping to sell off my PowerBook later this year and buy one of the new 12" ones (with SuperDrive of course).
2003-01-26 07:06:36
iLife will not be out tomorrow
Yeah it's unfortunate. I wish Apple had posted something official. All the rumor sites seem to point to it being on hold because of other updates that are supposed to come out at the same time. Hardware speed bumps apparently. Personally I'd be happy with an updated version of iChat that supports the Yahoo service and maybe webcams and audio.
2003-01-26 16:14:11
Insanely Great Price
At the risk of off-topic posting.. Can't see the sense in Keynote? I ordered the first day I could, and every mac powerpoint user I've shown it to has said they'll switch. A few pc users too have mentioned that it might just mean their next portable is a PowerBook. That's the value.

I won't buy iLife straight away, though I'm very excited about the iPhoto update. It will bring forward my purchase of a new PowerBook with a Superdrive though.

2003-01-26 19:49:31
2003-01-27 06:32:40
Yes, I'll be buying
$50 is quite a fair price for 4 apps on CDs in a box. Packaging and distribution costs, and I would never be able to download such large files. I think it was a fair and intelligent compromise.

< pixelguru >

2003-01-29 03:30:43
WIll Not Be Buying
Perhaps I am more significantly behind the average user on the hardware of the "digital hub" items in today's market. And I find myself ahead of the curve when it comes to still image management software.
I do not own a digital video camera, therefor, the usefulness of iDVD and iMovie is nill for me. As someone who has been a professional photographer since 1975, iPhoto falls far short giving the the command over my images that I have come to expect in more powerful editing tools in other software products. iPhoto is an attractive image management solution, but unless it's basic functionality of how it wants to manage albums has changed drastically since the other versions, I will not find it very useful either. So, I am left with the question of whether iTunes is of use in a $50. package and I must say no. Audion 3 offers me everything I want ina competitive package and at a competitve price.
I think there wold have been a ground swell of rebellion against the items that had previously been free becoming items with a price tag. Parodies of the the "Swtich" ads began appearring in the guise as "Bait and Swtich" ads about the rumor of way iTools be came a paid service.

I to want to paticipate in the health of Apple but not to the detriment of my own pocketbook and with the duplication of apps I already own that do a much better job for the disipline I adhere to.
This package would be attractive to the budding film student wanted the integration of music, stills and digital video. The $50 would be better spent on Final Cut Express. Better keep these iApps as freeware, or maybe I underestimate the size of the market who wants to edit and create their own homemovies from digital resources.
I'll download iPhoto2 and look at it, but I doubt I'll ever use it.