Posted Friday, July 29, 2005

The iPod Halo Effect? Meet the iLife Gravitational Pull

There's been a lot of talk lately about the iPod halo effect—the theory that Apple's iPod is drawing Windows users over to the Mac platform.

It's a sound theory, if you'll pardon the pun. Once Windows users see how well the iPod and iTunes work, they start to wonder what other goodies lurk on the five percent side of the fence.

Permit me to put forth another theory: the iLife gravitational pull. Apple's iLife suite of programs have helped to define what a Mac is and what it can do. I've heard more than one Windows user say things like, "I have to use a Windows computer because our corporate rubber-band inventory system runs on it, but I got a Mac to do all the digital photography and video stuff."

But don't take my paraphrased quote for it. Read the words of Alan Lewis, a technical evangelist at eBay. On his blog he writes, "A few months ago, I made the decision that my next computer will be a Mac. I have used Windows or DOS systems since I was a kid, so this is no small change for me.... The main reason I want to buy a Mac is because I need one to run iLife. Sure, the hardware looks cool. Sure, the new Tiger OS has some cool features. And sure, I like my iPod and want more stuff from Apple. But just like how Visicalc helped to sell Apple IIs, the thing that has sold me on getting a Mac is the software that runs on it."

That's the iLife gravitational pull. With iLife, Apple has nailed personal digital media production. The Windows platform has programs aplenty, but there's nothing like iLife over there: no suite of five tightly integrated programs that work well and work together and are free with a new computer—a computer that also has all the ports you need for digital media and that's blissfully free of viruses and spyware.

An iPod halo effect? No doubt. But I'd bet a Mac mini that the gravitational pull of iLife draws just as many Windows users to the Mac.

While you're feeling the pull... Check out the latest edition of the original iLife book. The Macintosh iLife '05 is the best-selling iLife book, and it's the only one that includes a companion instructional DVD that dovetails with the text. Learn more, then order yours for just $23.09 on