Q: I’ve been a PC user for many years and getting closer to crossing over to the Mac. In my research I see where iTunes is part of the iLife program which costs around $80. Is the iTunes portion of iLife the same as the free downloadable version of iTunes.
A: The short answer is yes. Traditionally, Apple had bundled iTunes as part of iLife, since it fell into the same general category as the other applications that are part of iLife—part of a suite of media management and authoring applications.
Despite this, iTunes was always available as a free download from Apple, and the version that traditionally was included on the iLife DVD has never been any different from the version available directly from Apple’s iTunes download site.
Probably because of this, Apple has abandoned any concept of iTunes being part of the iLife package in recent versions. If you look at the iLife ‘08 page (http://www.apple.com/ilife) you will note that iTunes is no longer listed as a component of the iLife suite.
Although you do not need more than iTunes to manage your iPod, some of the additional applications included in the iLife ‘08 package will integrate with iTunes and provide an improved experience with the iPod. iPhoto provides photo management capabilities and will allow iTunes to transfer pictures directly from your iPhoto albums onto your iPod, iPhone or Apple TV. iMovie provides direct conversion of your own video into formats that are ready for the iPod, iPhone or Apple TV, and GarageBand ‘08 allows the creation of ring tones for the iPhone.
Keep in mind as well that the current version of iLife is included with all new Mac computers, so the purchase price that you’re seeing generally only applies to users who are upgrading from a previous version of iLife. If you’re purchasing a new Mac, you will get the current version of iLife pre-installed on it.