Blog Post

Rumor Has It: The Case for iDVD’s Future

Of course, it’s only a rumor, but the word among bloggers is that iDVD will not be included in iLife ’11 and will be replaced by a mystery app that has nothing to do with DVD authoring. Why is Apple (s aapl) giving up on easy to make home movies that were touted as a killer feature among modern PCs around 2003? Oh yeah, that was 7 years ago. The truth is, iDVD has been on its “last leg” since 2006.

A brief walk down memory lane and we’ll all remember iDVD 1.0 that was released in 2001 with very minimal features but as an easy way to take movies made in iMovie and dropped onto a DVD to share with friends and family. Even though broadband was available back then, sharing movies simply wasn’t commonplace and I’d give Apple quite a bit of credit for “iTools Theatre” which was a way to share quick 320×240 films with family via your free iTools account in various themes. Apple did a good job after the release of iDVD of showing how awesome it is to record, edit and share your memories with families.

Of course, this was before online video took over the web and long before you could shoot an HD movie on your iPhone, edit that movie and send to YouTube for the entire world to see. DVDs still hold an important place as a way to back up data and watch movies, but even Blu-Ray is taking over and DVD’s 4.7 GB capacity simply isn’t much space considering how cheap it is to buy a 500 GB USB hard drive. Taking this a step further, who needs hard drives when you have nearly limitless and cheap storage online where your only limiting factor would be Internet bandwidth to store files up in the cloud?

It seems that I’ve made my point. Bye iDVD.

Wait, that’s a bit premature, though. iDVD is still very important to some people but that’s not Apple’s style. Apple is very quick to ditch technology and support for products long before the rest of the industry. Dell still has a $19 build to order option where you can include a floppy drive in your Dell Dimension whereas Apple stopped including an option for Floppy disks over 12 years ago. Apple abandoned serial, com ports and PS/2 in favor of a only supporting USB and Firewire and there are laptops shipping today that still include serial ports.

If you factor in Apple’s historic willingness to ditch products with usages in single-digit percentages and the fact that Apple has a monetary interest in everyone relying on digital means to share and consume media, it makes sense that they would do away with iDVD. But I think Apple should simply stop supporting it and make iDVD a free app on new Macs, an optional install on the iLife ’11 DVD and a free application available on for anyone that wants it with an end of life date of some time in 2012. It can afford to stick one developer on it to maintain code and compatibility with new Macs and simply keep it around for a little bit longer.

iDVD still has a place on Macs.

How then will you get video content on a DVD once Apple stops supporting iDVD? Roxio Toast 10 Titanium and Final Cut Studio with DVD Studio Pro 4.

Roxio’s Toast has long been a trusted application for people who want a more powerful burning software for making copies of CDs/DVDs, backing up data or burning video DVDs and Blu-Ray. It’s a solid program that runs $99. Apple’s DVD Studio Pro 4 is a great program but is bundled with the $999 Final Cut Studio which is way beyond my Mom’s budget for putting a few clips from her Flip camera on a DVD. It looks like anyone who wants to make a video DVD the easy way is out of luck because I would vote that iDVD is a far better product for drag-and-drop DVD creation with cool transitions and one-click burning.

Apple doesn’t always know what’s best for us but it’ll probably highlight to anyone coming into an Apple Store that Roxio’s offering is a good alternative if the user has to have a way to make video DVDs. As many of you know, burning data to a DVD is built into Apple’s Finder, so it’s not like Apple is dropping support for burning of disks altogether, it’s just that iDVD won’t be included in iLife anymore.

In all honesty, this entire article is speculation based on a rumor that iDVD may not be included in iLife ’11 and I’m okay with that. I asked Twitter earlier and 15 people responded. Each one of them haven’t opened iDVD in years or they’ve used it just once. Killing off iDVD isn’t surprising to anyone and there are alternatives. This is just Apple’s way of nudging in the direction of cloud storage and cloud video sharing via YouTube and other sites which the majority of people are already doing.

Do you still use iDVD? How often? When is the last time you used it?

[polldaddy poll=3526486]

16 Responses to “Rumor Has It: The Case for iDVD’s Future”

  1. When I worked in corporate America, I ran a training studio. I RELIED on iDVD for the fastest and simplest turnaround of the numerous disks I had to make. From quick “can I get a copy of the raw material” to full on, multi-menu disks for training use in class. I even bought a second computer just to handle the iDVD workload so I could continue to edit on the “big” machine.
    Wedding DVD’s work just great with some iDVD magic.
    And back when you could open iDVD projects in DVD Studio Pro (yea, back when Apple apps worked together a lot better than now) I could start authoring the 3 hour dance recital multi-angle DVD in iDVD, built all the chapter pages in a matter of seconds, and then open the project in DVD Studio Pro, change the compression rate so all the video could fit.
    It’s a great little tool that has seen a decline with the increase in broadband and online media, but in cases where you actually need a “deliverable” iDVD was downright indispensable for creating a polished product with a minimum of mouse clicks.
    The survey shouldn’t have been about iDVD, it should have been about disk authoring in general. I think iDVD hols the same percentage, but the overall disk burning need has decreased (especially on a Mac with more deliverables being HD & blu-ray now, and Apple stupidly insisting that Blu-ray doesn’t exist.)

  2. I regularly make videos of community theatre shows and distribute them to cast members. For this I use iMovie (6!) and iDVD exclusively. Both are limited in what they can do but this is basic video for the TV, not HD something for the cineplex. I have a copy of Final Cut Express but have never gotten comfortable with it. I would be disappointed if iDVD were discontinued.

  3. Gilles

    We need an iBluRay software in complement of iDVD (with hardware of course).

    Else, what is the goal of Steve Jobs. Making us buy Vaio or Toshiba’s computers ?

  4. I’ve used iDVD a few times over the course of its lifetime. The last time I used it was to download a video from youtube and burn it to a DVD. That was last year. All my videos since then have been uploaded to video sharing sites or given out on USB keys. Almost everything I need can be accomplished in iMovie.

    If anything, Apple will grandfather it like they did iMovie6. Just make it an optional download from their site and free up space on the DVD to include something else. The iDVD install alone consumed 2GB with all the templates and media. That’s 2GB, that was never used, out of a 7.5GB DVD. Whatever replaces it will be greatly appreciated

  5. Have used it once, but that once was all I needed. And there was no other way to share the video with the people getting it.

    So yes, iDVD is needed and wanted even if Apple wants to ditch it.

  6. Well, to be honest I used it twice. And the resulting were DVD were readable on SOME dvd players. I had three macbook pros, a mini and an iMac… All of them had unreliable DVD drive, read/burned some of the disc thrown at them. Effectively, Apple optical drives are a bag of hurt. Blu-ray would have been a more densely packed bag of hurt. That’s why, aside from my over 3000$ BTO Macbook pro I keep a networked 50$ Dell to burn DVDs.

  7. heinzer

    wouldn’t it be nice to add some of the iDVD features in iMovie. they could keep it simple. sometimes it makes sense to have a DVD tool and most of the time it is about putting your own projects on a silver disk. i never got it why they didn’t merged iDVD and iMovie anyway.

  8. I use iDVD from time to time when I need to create something that will play on, you know, a DVD player connected to a television. Last time was two weeks ago.

  9. For many videographers, Apple made a big mistake overhauling iMovie HD, which worked nearly perfect—not mention the 3rd plug-in support it received. I think it would make the same mistake by removing iDVD. It’s too bad that some enterprising company can’t get licenses to discontinued apps like iMovie and keep them going. I understand Apple is always working with its bottom line in mind, but that doesn’t mean apps should be abandoned just because Apple can no longer make millions of dollars of them.