Windows Safari presages iLife on Windows?

I can’t take credit for this one: this idea was completely that of my brilliant young officemate, Johnathan Ishmael.

Rather than concentrating on the “Safari on Windows is to help the browser acceptance ecosystem” or the “there to entice people to the Mac experience” arguments that most have been concentrating on. Johnathan cuts straight to the big punchline and sees it as a trial run for offering commercial sales of previously Mac-only applications like iLife.

The browser itself might not go very far in capturing people for every-day browsing (especially judging from initial reactions), but it may well be enough to shake out problems with the underlying software platform for porting Safari. Technically, it has some legs. It has been observed that Safari is very much like a Mac application, and that there are CoreFoundation, CoreGraphics and CFNetwork DLLs. Is this, plus QuickTime, plus some of iTunes’s efforts enough to provide the underlying frameworks for the iLife suite?

iLife is cited by many (including Johnathan, a Windows user) as one of the most compelling ideas to buy a Mac. Why should Apple offer that commercially? Not only does it get the income from the sale, but it gets people comfortable with the application platform. iPod People are comfortable with the way iTunes organises their music. Some of them have been comfortable enough for that to let them think they’d be comfortable with a Mac. If iLife were introduced on Windows, it could capture a lot of loyalty: there’s nothing quite like it for media creation and management on the PC.

With that captured loyalty, there’s a lot gained. If Apple applications already take care of some of your most prized digital content, then that’s a fairly big barrier lowered there. What other barriers are there? Microsoft Office? Nope. Accessing MS Word files with WordPad? TextEdit fills that role handily.

I personally think it’s an intriguing idea and a possible future. As with my other speculation here on the blog, it’s an idea that could be done by Apple, and perhaps something that has been discussed internally. Apple doesn’t always do what’s feasible, and certainly not right away. Apple does what’s right for Apple in the future, and happily that’s often right for me, as a consumer.