Apple’s new iLife product GarageBand may have been planned for release before April 2003, it was revealed yesterday.

It appears that in order to acquire the trademark for the name, Apple had to make a deal with existing independently-produced MP3 distribution Web site – and that deal was signed in April 2003. "The deal was kept confidential by both parties until now," a release states. CEO Ali Partovi said: "We have tremendous respect for Apple's vision and leadership in the digital music space. We've always shared their goal of empowering musicians, and today we're excited to share with them our name. Now, any musician can create music on Apple's state-of-the-art GarageBand software and promote their recordings on's award-winning Web services. "

Analysts feel that Apple's focus on consumers and their music may help the company coffers sing. Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin told Reuters: "Garage Band might even have more long-term effect on Apple's sales. Steve has taken the consumer application (software) layer to its next level from playing music to allowing you to be part of making music."

Jupiter Media analyst Michael Gartenberg told the Mercury News: "If you look at an application like GarageBand – you can't get that on another platform at any price. People will buy Macs on the basis of GarageBand."

Bajarin also spoke with, saying: "This software will advance the creative process," adding: "Twenty years ago, Apple introduced the concept of 'what if' with VisiCalc (the early spreadsheet application); now it's doing the same thing with music."

Digital media analyst Phil Leigh of Inside Digital Media told the Washington Post: "People are going to look back at April 2003 (when iTunes Music Store launched) and say what was the mutation point. That's when Apple became the digital media company, not the computer company."