When Apple announced the new iMac G5s with built-in iSight cameras they also announced an innovative application that essentially turns the iMac into an old-fashioned photo booth like the ones found in any arcade in America. With the click of your mouse the screen lights up like a flash bulb and the built-in iSight camera takes a picture. From there you can edit it, add effects and email it to grandma or the kids.
The other neat piece of software Apple announced with the new iMac G5s has even more potential. Front Row is a combination software application and hardware remote control that turns the new iMac into the bonafide media center allowing you to sit back on the couch and easy switch between DVD player, iTunes, iPhoto and iMovie. Brilliant!
Front Row is exactly the type of application that Mac mini users have been clamoring for since it was announced. In fact, Front Row is better suited for the Mac mini because that machine is perfect for media center applications: it fits nicely in a home entertainment suites and can be hidden just about anywhere. The problem is that both Front Row and Photo Booth are only available with a new iMac G5 and while I understand that Apple wants to sell the new hardware, they're diminishing the value of their previous hardware by not allowing people with other Macs to use the new goodies.
Apple took a calculated risk by making these two applications exclusive to the new iMac G5. They figured it was more important to sell new hardware than to appease customers with previous Macs and the strategy may have backfired. Enterprising developers have hacked both applications to work with any Mac and both are floating around the Internet "in the wild."
Apple should have anticipated that people would want to run Front Row and Photo Booth on other Macs and offered them as a free download, or if they wanted to recoup some of their R&D expenses they could have charged $25-$49 for the applications. Instead they attempted to get people to buy the new iMac G5s to get the new software and now the applications are floating around for free.