Apple’s New Software Strategy Includes Making All iLife Apps Free On New Devices

Apple announced updates to its iLife suite of apps at today’s event in San Francisco, but perhaps more interesting than any specific feature is the pricing – the company said iLife will be free with purchase of any new Mac or iOS device.

It sounds like this doesn’t go quite as far as the announcement earlier this morning that OS X Mavericks will be available as a free update, because unlike the Mavericks update, the new iLife apps won’t be free for folks who don’t have immediate plans to buy a new MacBook or iPad. Nonetheless, along with a similar announcement about iWork, this suggests a broader strategy, one that CEO Tim Cook acknowledged later in the presentation, saying Apple wants to make sure “our customers have access to our greatest and latest new features.”

As for what features those customers will have access to, the ones announced today include:

  • iPhoto on the iPad now has Photo Books, allowing users to order printed collections of their pictures.
  • iMovie has been redesigned, with a new feature called iMovie Theater that allows users to view all of their iMovie projects in one place.
  • GarageBand now has a maximum of eight tracks, and there are new built-in instruments.
  • GarageBand now includes a “smart drummer” track that analyzes your music and plays along.
  • All iLife apps are getting 64-bit updates.

Update: Looks like I got some of the above details about GarageBand wrong. Here’s what Apple sent me:

GarageBand for Mac and Garageband for iOS are available for free to all iOS 7 and Mavericks users. In terms of features, Garageband for iOS increases the number of tracks from 8 to 16 for many devices, and up to 32 tracks for devices using the A7 chip. GarageBand for Mac includes an all new Sound Library, as well as Drummer, the new virtual session player who takes your direction and plays along to your song.