One of the greatest things about using a Mac is the simplicity in performing tasks that yield professional results. iLife has been a big part of the Apple family since it’s first release as a package in 2004. Before that, the apps had been separate entities, but iLife brought together iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand, and iWeb in a neat and tidy suite of utilities. This month, Apple released the latest and greatest version: iLife ’11. If you have a Mac, you probably already have iLife, so I’m going to focus on new features as I take a closer look at Apple’s latest software offering.
iPhoto makes working with your pictures an enjoyable activity, with a shallow learning curve that leads to awesome creations. This upgrade offers enhancements to Facebook interactivity, allowing you to easily create and share albums, change your profile picture, tag friends, and more. If friends on Facebook leave comments on your pictures, you can even see them in iPhoto. It also will display all your albums and photos from Facebook, even those that originated from a different program. For emailing pictures from iPhoto, this version brings the email into the program, so that you’re not hopping back and forth. Providing attractive templates for personalizing your email creations, you can easily select and rearrange the pictures you send, even adding high-resolution versions for the recipient to save and print. It will also optimize your images automatically so that your emails won’t exceed standard size limitations. While iPhoto has always provided slideshows, the new ones iPhoto ’11 offers are pretty darn cool, and the upgrades to the way you can create photo books for printing through Apple is leaps and bounds above what we had to work with before. I’ve been gifting iPhoto creations for the last two years, and it looks like we have some great new offerings for the 2010 holiday season.
iMovie is another terrific member of the iLife family that sees some vast improvements this go-round. My favorite addition? More advanced audio editing has been added to iMovie, allowing better manipulation of audio tracks, showing detailed waveforms that automatically update with each change you make. Another cool feature added borrows from the Faces feature in iPhoto that iLife ’09 debuted. People Finder allows you to quickly find clips starring the people you are looking for through facial recognition. Everyone likes a good movie trailer, so now iMovie brings that feature to your Mac, allowing you to choose from various themes to create a short film comprised of your video clips. Throw in a few other things like new sports and news themes and some great new effects and you’ve got a better way to bring your family memories to the big (or small) screen.
The other app that gets some upgrade love with this upgrade is GarageBand. I wish I could say that I use GarageBand regularly, but I’ll have to rely on others to tell me how easy it makes your musical compositions sound like you’ve been in the studio for weeks. New things here include some improvements to timing, allowing you to synch the rhythm of the all your instruments to a single track and “Flex Time”, which fixes timing with a click. For learning, iLife ’11 adds some new lessons and the ability to see how you’ve progressed in your playing.
iLife is great, and the best part for this year’s upgrade is the price; just $49 and you can experience and wield all the new features and tools iLife ’11 brings. Got a Mac? Get iLife.