Sunday, September 02, 2007

Apple's iClip 1.0 (iMovie '08) shaft: what they should have done

iClip 1.0 (aka Movie '08) is a nasty trick. It has real promise and some real innovations; with another year of development it could be a great application. It needs a real media management solution, probably extending some of the approaches Aperture takes to managing a media library. iPhoto doesn't cut it as a media management solution. It also needs some of the core functionality that once belonged to iMovie HD. Most of all, it needs another year of work.

In fairness to Apple engineers, maybe it originally relied on functionality that was part of 10.5, and what we see now is a hack designed to work on 10.4. Or maybe it was supposed to be much more than it is, and as schedules slipped Apple threw it out the door in desperation.

Alas, it may well be a great commercial success. That happens. It doesn't change the shafted feeling iMovie HD users are going to experience.

The honorable thing for Apple to have done would have been to provide iMovie HD users with an upgrade path to Final Cut Express (which might also require some updates to FCE, I'm not sure how serious Apple is about that product). In a bit more detail, this is what they could have done:
  1. Announce iClip (iVid?): a promising solution for rapidly sharing clips stored in iPhoto.
  2. Announce that iMovie was, regrettably, being discontinued.
  3. Let iLife '07 users have the option of a $75 transition to Final Cut Express. Some would choose to spend their money on FCE instead of iLife '08, others might choose both.
If Apple had taken that route I'm sure some users would still grumble, but they'd be spared the nasty reviews. There's still time for them to reconsider.

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