Is Apple Planning iPhoto for Windows?

by Chris Howard Apr 18, 2007

Six years ago Apple released iTunes, a digital media player. At the time it was Mac only. You would load songs from your CDs and play them on your computer. Nothing new, other apps had been doing that for years, so no one batted an eyelid.

Ten months later though, things started to change. Apple released the first iPod, and guess what, it could download songs from iTunes. With the second generation model another ten months later, Apple introduced Windows support via the third-party app, Musicmatch Jukebox.

In April 2003, the iTunes Music Store hit and the revolution really began to rock and roll. But there was one piece missing in the puzzle to complete the picture. A fire extinguisher and blizzard were required. Apple had to port one of its iLife applications to Windows. Not to say Apple had no previous Windows applications, for instance, Filemaker and Quicktime.

And so, six months later, Apple released a Windows version of iTunes. But iTunes, being part of iLife, was one of the enticements for people to switch, so there was an element of risk.

The risk seems to have paid off, as more than a few switchers, including my friend “Halo Girl,” switched because they were impressed with iTunes. Everyone talked about the iPod halo effect, but it’s possible that iTunes had a significant effect too.

The iPod has been Apple’s effort to conquer the mobile media market, and there’s no question of its success. But would it have succeeded without iTunes for Windows?

The question now, though, is will history repeat itself?

In March, Apple began shipping Apple TV, its device to conquer the non-mobile media market that is found in living rooms.

Reading about the Apple TV and early user experiences made me realize that now more than ever, Apple needs iPhoto for Windows.

Quoting the Apple TV webpage, “Apple TV puts your iTunes library—movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts—plus movie trailers from on your TV. And your digital photos from iPhoto on a Mac or Adobe Photoshop Elements or Adobe Album on a Windows PC appear in high definition.”

How long do you think Apple will tolerate that situation of using the Adobe apps for photo viewing on PCs connected to Apple TVs? Mind you, I’m not suggesting any ill will in the Apple-Adobe relationship.

(Now you could point out the iTMS as being crucial to Apple needing a Windows version of iTunes, and since there’s no equivalent for digital photography, is there really a need for iPhoto on Windows?)

It’s about the Apple experience and Apple having control.

iTunes for Windows gave users a taste of the apple and created a more seamless integration with the iPod—whether perceived or real. Plus then Apple also had control over the feature set.

Likewise a Windows version of iPhoto will give users a further taste of the apple and create a more seamless integration with the Apple TV—whether perceived or real. Plus then Apple will also have control over the feature set.

Considering these points, and the ever booming digital photography market, it really can’t be too long before Apple completes the puzzle for Windows using Apple TV owners, and releases iPhoto for Windows.

And then, who knows, maybe Apple will go the whole hog, and port all the iLife apps across.

With Apple TV, now it makes sense.


  • And then, who knows, maybe Apple will go the whole hog, and port all the iLife apps across

    Very doubtful… iPhoto is a slim possibility, but Apple has emphasized iLife as being a part of the Mac experience in its advertising.

    Note that as Windows over the years has become easier and more intuitive to use on the OS/GUI side, Apple has added software to keep that “ease of use” edge in other areas (ie - integrating your digital content into iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie…)

    If you move iLife to Windows, you lose part of the compelling argument to switch. The windows “digitial lifestyle” is supposed to be more cumbersome than on the Mac. Put iLife on Windows, and Windows users gain a large part of the Mac ease of use.

    vb_baysider had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 243
  • I disagree with your conclusions based on the facts that Apple has nothing to gain by porting iPhoto to Windows.  The argument of control is flawed in this case as, other than as a transfer medium (transferring photos from the PC to the Apple TV), the use of Adobe apps doesn’t control anything.  Unlike the use of MusicMatch which would have had to include an interface and purchasing solution for the iTMS. 

    iTunes for Windows represents the perfect “razor and blade” scenario for Apple:  Give away the software so that users get locked into the iPod/iTMS model. As we all know, that worked out pretty well.

    Conversely, other than selling some photo printing solutions via iPhoto, there’s no real return.  Unless Apple developed a proprietary photo/camera format (which would be suicide), there’s no reason to try and lock Windows users into iPhoto.

    jonlevine had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 1
  • No.

    Benji had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 927
  • Considering that Google’s Picasa is quite a powerful image management tool, it might not be as simple as the case for iTunes, so I’d say that iPhoto would be a very slim possibility indeed.

    bluefossil had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 1
  • I wish Google would port Picasa over to the Mac. It’s at least as good as iPhoto.

    Dusty had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 1
  • I don’t see any downside to this.  Apple could provide a better photo experience for PC users with Apple TV, and could sell iLife to a whole new audience.  Forget about iLife as a Mac application, think of it as its own little world, that could run on any platform.

    iLife is like its own operating system.

    The Apple TV could be another iPod—a cross-platform success.  I’ve been reading some really positive reviews—“AppleTV - Just What The Doctor Ordered.” Shelly noted one thing, that jumped out at me: his kids love it.
    Apple TV could just become “TV.”


    kimberlyholmes had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 1
  • I have to say, a few months ago I finally had a look at Picassa and I was very very impressed. While iPhone, being a part of a closed-operating system, certainly has a lead in terms of plug-and-play-ability, the UI and the way Picassa works is very impressive.

    Hadley Stern had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 114
  • Picasas is a fantastic app. Given the presence of Eric Schmidt on the Apple board and Steve’s matey-ness with him, I’m quite surprised that Apple hasn’t included support for Picasa.

    Maybe that’s a further clue that a “better” system is coming. i.e. iPhoto. iPhoto can compete against Adobe Album, but would struggle against Picasa. Further, ditching support for Adobe Album wouldn’t rock as many boats as ditching Picasa.

    To those who said iPhoto won’t happen, I appreciate it is a small component of the user experience. But it still is a part of the user experience of using AppleTV.

    Currently, AppleTV OS has to be written to communicate with the Adobe Album format, as well as the iPhoto format. If Adobe chage their format, Apple has to jump. If Apple had functionality to iPhoto specific to AppleTV, it can’t do the same for Adobe Album.

    And I do remember people fearing iTunes on Windows would hurt Mac sales.

    Agreed the need isn’t as great as it was with iTunes; however, if Apple wants to maximise users’ Apple experience with the AppleTV, then having iPhoto for Windows would definitely help.

    And if there are any issues between AppleTV and Adobe Album, the user will blame AppleTV. Apple can have control over and minimize the issues if it has iPhoto for Windows.

    And you know what else, as well as further giving users a taste of the Mac, when they decide to switch, guess what - their photos would no longer be an issue.

    How many Windows users worry about switching to Mac because they’ve got thousands of photos in Picasa or Adobe Album etc and they don’t know what to do with them on a Mac? The biggest issue anyone switching platforms faces, is porting data to new applications.

    iPhoto on Windows makes more sense the more I think about it.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 1209
  • To those who said iPhoto won’t happen are probably the same ones who said that the switch to Intel would never happen or that video on the iPod would never happen or that dual-booting of Windows would never happen.

    I don’t think it’s an either/or situation with iPhoto vs Picassa.  That’s the beauty of competition.  There are things I love about iPhoto and things I love about Picassa.  I’d love to have the option of both on the Mac.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Apr 18, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • I just have to weigh in with my two cents…

    I have to agree, even as a long time mac user, iPhoto still isn’t what I want it to be, and in general Picasa has more to offer.

    I think the interesting point that you raise is why Apple didn’t support Picasa instead of the Adobe apps? I’m all for a Picasa mac port - heres hoping!

    ciaocibai had this to say on Apr 19, 2007 Posts: 4
  • iTunes has direct revenue streams from music, film and TV sales and also supports the vital iPod hardware sales , all of which are directly enhanced by supporting it on the PC.

    iPhoto has books and calendars. Whoopee Do.

    Don’t expect to see Apple expend the resources to port iPhoto any time soon.

    Simon Hibbs had this to say on Apr 19, 2007 Posts: 1
  • iPhoto has AppleTV.

    A lot of AppleTV’s content is going to be delivered through an Apple application (iTunes). I think Apple would like as much content as possible delivered through its own applications.

    If I go to your place and you’re a Windows person, and you say your shiny new AppleTV’s good but crap for photos coz Adobe Album sucks, then Apple has a problem. (I’m not saying Adobe Album sucks. I’m not familiar with it.)

    But if iPhoto on Windows becomes part of the AppleTV experience - however small - (and making it a positive one) then it has value that makes it worth porting. And if it then subsequently makes switching to Macs easier (coz transferring your photos is then a doddle), it becomes very valuable.

    If, on Windows, you use an iPod with iTunes and an AppleTV with iTunes and iPhoto, you’d start to think why don’t I just get a Mac?! But substitute Adobe Album for iPhoto, and you get a kink in the reasoning.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Apr 19, 2007 Posts: 1209
  • Come on, are you serious? Apple ported iTunes to Windows because of two reasons. 1) It helped improve the experience of the iPod for Windows users (the majority of iPod buyers), and it paid for itself with the revenue generated through the iTunes store.

    I don’t see any value or monetization in bring iPhoto to Windows. It’s relationship to the Apple TV is peripheral at best.

    Now, I’ve said this before, but I believe Apple missed a HUGE opportunity with the iSight and Windows. Had Apple ported iChat to Windows and bundled it with the iSight camera, it would have been a huge hit. Plus it would have increased the total number of iChat video users for other iChat users to talk video conference with. I can understand why they didn’t do (iChat users a lot of Mac OS X tech like Core Video etc. that would have made porting difficult).

    serpicolugnut had this to say on Apr 19, 2007 Posts: 2
  • 1. FileMaker is spelt FileMaker, and it wasn’t an application by Apple.

    2. QuickTime is not an application.

    3. iPhoto/iLife is being touted as one of the reasons to buy a Mac over a Windows PC. If iPhoto/iLife were available for the PC, Apple would lose some of the Mac advantage.

    4. iTunes means a constant revenue stream for Apple. iPhoto does not. It’s doubtful if the photo printing services it sells make too much money.

    5. Maintaining a Windows version of iPhoto would cost Apple money.

    6. Apple TV doesn’t need iPhoto. If the slideshows are impressive on Apple TV, the point has already been made: Apple products can make beautiful presentations.

    András Puiz had this to say on Apr 19, 2007 Posts: 2
  • 1. It doesn’t matter how it’s spelled or where it began life, FileMaker is an Apple owned Windows application that existed before iTunes for Windows.

    2. So it’s a…?? Sure looks like an application on my Mac. Apple even put it in the Applications folder.

    3. iLife, not just iPhoto is touted. iPhoto without the rest of the iLife apps wouldn’t dent the Mac advantage much. I was *wrong* to include that line about porting all the iLife apps. I don;t think that would make sense.

    4. Apple has always argued they make nix from iTMS. iTunes/iTMS is there to sell iPods. That’s not to say Apple couldn’t have included the same revenue streams in Musicmatch if it really wanted. Again, iPhotos value is not its revenue streams (book etc) but increasing the ease of switching and minimizing any point of difficulty that could be associated with Apple TV.

    5. Agreed. That is the one one hitch. It becomes a balancing act between the problems of a third party app and the cost of an Apple app.

    6. Agreed. However, if Apple wants to maximise the positive experience of Windows based Apple TV users, iPhoto for Windows makes sense. Even if the presentation looks good, if the user hasn’t enjoyed the process to get the photos prepared, then that reflects on the Apple TV. eg “Hey I like my Apple TV and the photos look great but heck, they’ve got to get a better photo management app.”

    Chris Howard had this to say on Apr 19, 2007 Posts: 1209
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