I just want to quickly comment that I think that Apple’s software strategy is utterly and completely brilliant. I’m thinking specifically of iTunes, iMovie, and now iPhoto here. There are about 20x more PC users than Mac users out there, and you know what, nobody has yet come up with a good system for managing a library of MP3s on a PC. FreeAmp used to be OK, but then they screwed it up. WinAmp seems to be working on it. Don’t get me started on Windows Media Player, and I don’t use Real Jukebox for the same reason that I don’t voluntarily infect my computer with email viruses.
Anyway, Apple seems committed to building a suite of best of breed software that make it easy to do the things with computers that lots of people are using them for nowdays. Office suites, email clients, and web browsers are already taken, interfacing with digital gadgets and managing various kinds of media files are not. I really believe the reason Apple came up with the iPod is that there wasn’t a suitable digital music player already on the market. You don’t see the iDigitalCamera or the iCamcorder because there are already plenty of great products out there in those categories.
Apple is defining a compelling niche for itself by not only building beautiful and functional hardware, and a killer operating system, but also bundling lots of great applications with it as well. The price difference between an iMac and a consumer model Gateway PC seems less extreme when you realize that it comes with some killer applications that you just can’t get for your PC. Apple’s decision to invest time and money building these great applications and then distribute them for free (other than iMovie) is really going to pay off, I think. Certainly they’re making me wish I’d opted for an iBook instead of the Toshiba laptop I bought so I could play games.