iLife ’09 recently arrived and brought with it loads of goodies and new features for users upgrading from previous versions. iPhoto ’09’s facial recognition tech is the talk of the town, since it can apparently even distinguish between cats. Aspiring musicians can learn from the greats, albeit for a fee, via Garage Band’s “Artist Lessons”. Or rather, aspiring musicians who are lucky enough to be using a Mac with an Intel (s intc) processor can learn from the greats. Those still running PPC architecture have actually been left out in the cold by Apple (s aapl) this time around.
It’s not like “Intel-only” is something Mac users haven’t heard before, but this is the first time Apple has applied it to their popular consumer-level media suite, as Ars Technica points out. As someone who’s currently shopping for a gently used 12″ PowerBook G4, which I’m opting for over a new netbook, the news is somewhat disconcerting. Or dis-“concerting”, rather. See what I did there?
The problem is not so much with my not being able to pay $6.50 for questionably useful musical instruction from celebrities, but with the possibility that this represents the first crack in the dam, so to speak. If Apple begins excluding PowerPC architecture from its support list, it’s unlikely that anyone else will continue to respect the technology either. Should they, though? One of the benefits of buying Apple hardware in the past has been the durability of the computers, and the fact that they retain so much resale value, even as they advance significantly in age. Still, does that mean that Apple and others should bend over backwards to offer legacy support?
I’d argue that yes, they should, if they want to keep their reputation of being a computer that you can happily own for many years, and then pass on or find another loving home for when you are finished. And that reputation will remain intact, so long as the core functionality remains accessible, even if glittering extras like Norah Jones helping you play piano might not.