My iDVD ’08 Review and Apple’s Disdain for DVDs

Macworld has posted my full review of iDVD ’08.

For the most part, this update isn’t remarkable, though it does clean up the interface a bit and adds pro-level (two-pass variable bitrate) encoding. I also focus a little on Apple’s waning interest in DVDs. When I did a briefing with Apple, I asked about the lack of DVD chapter markers in iMovie ’08 and wondered if it was just a feature that hadn’t gotten implemented in the new application. It turns out that Apple truly thinks DVDs are old news. Here’s a paragraph that got cut for space (since the review is appearing in the print edition, too):

The same disinterest seems to be shared by Apple in general, based on conversations I’ve had with representatives from the company. Sharing movies online is the future, whereas burning DVDs was “great a few years ago.”

While I can appreciate that Apple is looking to the future (and no doubt trying to steer people to its $100-per-year .Mac service), I think they’re jumping the gun just a little. There are plenty of people who don’t have fast Internet connections, or they want something that has a better chance of playing on Grandma’s equipment.

Of course, we’ll see how it all shakes out. I doubt that people will jump to Windows or anything drastic like that. But it does seem weird to have Apple deliberately alienate many of its already loyal customers.

The iDVD review ends with:

Even if you prefer to burn your movies to DVD instead of uploading them to a Web site or YouTube, chances are iDVD alone won’t sway you to buy the iLife ’08 suite. But given Apple’s disinterest in the format, it’s encouraging to see the fine improvements in iDVD ’08. The question is, will we see another iDVD in the future? I, for one, hope so.

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