The Motley Fool: Apple iLife software suite for Windows?

“Apple sold out of iPods during its 2004 first quarter, shipping 733,000 players and booking $256 million in revenue. That’s nearly 13% of Apple’s $2 billion in sales for the quarter, up more than 200% from the same period a year ago, when Apple sold $81 million worth of iPods,” Tim Beyers writes for The Motley Fool. “Interestingly, demand probably hasn’t come close to peaking. In early January, Apple inked a deal with Hewlett-Packard allowing HP to resell its own branded music player based on the iPod and to include iTunes with the nearly 16 million consumer-oriented personal computers it sells each year.”

Beyers writes, “It is difficult to overstate the importance of this announcement. Apple’s iPod and iTunes music store were doing well before HP came into the picture. In fact, Apple admits its first quarter — which was already a huge success — could have been better if it had adequately met global demand for its music players. Now, with its order backlog, the new Mini, and the new HP channel, it seems that anything less than 3 million iPods sold during fiscal ’04 would be a major disappointment. Four million seems likely. How would that translate into revenue? Let’s do the math: According to its latest earnings report, Apple averaged $349 in revenue per iPod sold. If prices remain stable,


  1. Motley Fool is usually pretty sharp, but I disagree on this one. I don’t think Apple has plans for an iPod movie player, so porting these apps to Windows for that reason is not the answer.

    If Windoze users want fine apps, come to the right platform!

  2. I agree with Jimbo. Steve Jobs has mentioned that before….there are already portable DVD players that capture that market.

    Although the sales figures on the iPods, iPod mini’s, and hPods are potential and theoretical. I can only hope that those figures are entirely possible.

  3. iTunes may work best with the iPod but iPhoto works with any USB digital camera. Same with iMovie and DV cameras. Apple would not make that much money by selling iLife to Windows customers. Except for the iPod, there would be no hardware to complement the software.

    Having said that, iChat for Windows would be very profitable if it convinces people to buy iSight cameras. Surelly there is demand for intuative video conferencing on the Windows platform.

  4. Steve recently listed three reasons for why they don’t have a video iPod (like the ones so proudly introduced at CES).

    First, there is not yet a visual equivalent to audio headphones.

    Second, movies are so stinkin’ long that even with today’s broadband it takes too much time to download them. (And–my words here–who wants to see home movies of someone else’s grandkids or latest vacation reel all the time on their portable video player.)

    And third, movies don’t affect us emotionally the way that music does. Then he followed all that up by saying, of course, you never know what we are working on in our labs.

    I admit I was jealous that Apple didn’t introduce a toy like Microsoft’s video player, but when I read Steve’s explanation, I thought, “It’s OK, the market/technology isn’t right for a video iPod. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player; it was the first insanely great MP3 player. When Apple introduces their next killer device, we will all think, yeah, that’s it.”

    Steve and the team at Apple are pretty smart. GarageBand, with 50% of households in the US having at least 1 current musician in their home, will make the next killer market. And everyone else went from MP3s to movies without stopping to think about the creators of music!

    When we do see the video iPod, it will come with video “headphones” which we will have to be taught to use like the mouse in 1984. And how sweet it will be!

  5. The movie player was just an example. The point is that Apple is expected to unveil more devices, and any software that significantly supports those devices will be ported to Windows to vastly increase the sales of those devices. The software titles already available in iLife may be a clue to the type of devices being planned, just as iTunes preceded iPod.

    At present, there is no reason to port any more software. Personally, I’m looking for a Tivo device, which won’t require any computer to work.

  6. While I agree that an iPod-like video player is about as likely as an Apple branded mobile phone, I think it was only an example, and not to be taken seriously, so obviously porting iLife to Windows “for that reason” is not the answer. The answer is 49 bucks a pop to millions of PC users (yes, I think it would be a strategic mistake to charge more) who would not buy a Mac otherwise, and who may possibly be tempted to do so after using Apple’s fine software. It is unreasonable to assume that people would switch in droves just to use iLife, but not at all unreasonable to assume that they would buy it for that price, and get a taste of the Apple in the bargain. Better some (potentially substantial) revenue, than little or none from the dramatically vaster market.

  7. KennyLucius,

    Well said, you beat me to it, but I still think that Apple could realize substantial revenue from iLife for Windows in and of itself. Unlike iTMS, there are no greedy record labels gobbling up license fees for the other apps.

  8. I agree with all the reasons why a video iPod makes no sense. But maybe something’s being done in a different direction than people assume when they think “video iPod”? Two poinst:

    1. Steve Jobs, when making his comments on portable video, added the disclaimer that he couldn’t promise Apple wasn’t working on something related.

    2. Apple DID post a job a while ago for their “next generation iPod” team that required experience with video compression.

    iLife for Windows is not happening, though. Apple makes money on hardware, and the other iApps would just help people stay on Windows while making work for Apple. iTunes leads to iPod sales, and from there to Macs:

  9. “First, there is not yet a visual equivalent to audio headphones.”

    So, with all the chatter about Apple working on some other digital lifestyle home appliance, maybe “visual headphones” are it, or part of it.

    This article sounds like wishful thinking on the part of a Windows user, but he does have a point if (1) Apple does expand its “lifestyle” hardware, (2) it makes use of iLife apps, and (3) Apple wants to sell to Windows users. Just like iTunes, whatever app the hardware interfaces with will have to be ported to Windows out of necessity. So, maybe, not all of iLife all at once — but piece by piece — we’ll see it converted for Windows….

  10. Any of the “i” suite of applications gain a lot of their appeal from the OS they are running on. The transparent nature of OS X allows these programs to integrate seamlessly with hardware and other software to provide a solid creative platform in which to work. One that stays OUT OF YOUR WAY instead of getting IN YOUR WAY.

    This kind of seamless integration of hardware and software is nothing more than a pipe dream in the Windows world.

    As such, I disagree with the premise of the article. I think some things need to stay on the Mac and those who want them bad enough would be wise to purchase the superior system required to use it.

    I think these Trojan Horse products from Apple are the biggest favor they could offer the Windows community. If the lemmings are too blind to see the obvious advantages to owning a Mac, show them a fantastic piece of software they can’t have on Windows instead.

    Some people need more than a gentle nudge to see what they are missing. ;o)

  11. iSight’s possible. I’m still amazed that people widely understand why iSight costs more than other web cams. Isn’t that the kind of thing some Mac folks and most Apple-ignorant press would blindly jump all over? But iSight and iChat AV got mainly good press right from the beginning, and deservedly so… while products like Panther and iLife ’04, with more obvious benefits, have price complaints parroted all over. Odd.

  12. I’d be very surprised if Apple ported software over just for the heck of it. iLife is part of the experience the Mac offers, part of the differentiation from Windows or Linux. People don’t see the fine differences in pure OS experience, but when a new Mac let’s people get right into doing great things, they notice it. Ever noticed how many of the reviews from PC oriented mags usually point out the great software such as iMovie as an example of the improved experience? Apple would stand to lose a lot that no $49 a copy could ever make up!
    Though, if they introduce a new killer gadget (which I think isn’t too likely) then I would expect an approach similar to the iTunes/iPod deal.

  13. I wouldn’t want to see iLife ported to Windows.

    The costs to get it reliable working with all the PC hardware and addons would be prohibitive.

    As an example, iTunes on my PC is kinda cool and kinda sucks. It’s nice to be able to stream tracks from the PC through iTunes. However, iTunes rips CDs at half the speed or less than MusicMatch (which convinces me that using iTunes ripping benchmarks versus another program on a PC is not a valid test of machine speed–iTunes rips so slowly thta you are automatically crippling the Mac benchmark using it), doesn’t recognize when a CD is ejected, even after trying out autoplay every which way, and this is on a more than one year old stock Sony machine. What I usually do is rip the tracks with MusicMatch, then exit and add them to the iTunes library so they can be streamed through Rendezvous. I don’t care, but if I was a PC-only user I wouldn’t be impressed.

    That is on a program Apple is using to sell iPods it profits greatly from.

    Imagine how many problems there could be with a piece of software whose only revenue stream is the $49 the program itself brings in.

    Putting Apple software on a PC is akin to putting a ballgown on a $3 hooker–and for iLife I have the feeling the fabric would cost more than the dress would sell for.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.