"One of the off-the-cuff observations I made in the variant of my talk Watching the Alpha Geeks that I delivered at the O’Reilly Mac OS X Conference was that the iApps represent a new kind of productivity application. […] Apple knows that the new frontier of productivity is not a new spreadsheet, word processor, or email client, but rather, tools for managing a consumer’s growing array of digital assets: photos, music, and videos. […] So there’s a brave new world ahead, not only for Apple users, but also for Windows users as Microsoft and various other software developers get into the act."
If you comment on the Windows marketplace, it would be nice to actually know what’s happening in there, which is by design a lot bigger than what does Microsoft itself (yeah, this is not the Apple universe, there are actually more than a few ISPs working on top of the Windows platform). Look at Helium for a powerful mp3 metadata management application. Its first release is more than 18-month old. I don’t have enough pictures to really need something like iPhoto but I’d be surprised if no Windows equivalent existed. I’ll investigate when we’ll have bought our new digital camera (beside our webcam that does low-end photos and our camcorder that’s too bulky for practical non-tripod photo use). Anyway the point is that a strict Apple vs. Microsoft application comparison is irrelevant because there are so many 3rd-party programs to choose from.
These days many people pitch the Mac as a cutting-edge platform with unique applications without counterpart on Windows. It’s not only tiring, it’s plainly misinformed. It’s about as stupid as people who claimed five years ago Linux would take over the desktop. Where are they now? Right, nowhere. I’m still waiting to hear about anything you can do on a Mac you can’t do on a PC.
11/28/02 update: for good Windows photo apps, Carlos points to ACDSee ($50) for its management features, or the free FotoTime.