Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Macworld Aftermath

Macworld Aftermath: A Closer Look At iLife, iWork

By John C. Welch
January 17, 2009 07:00 AM

iLife '09
The first product was the latest version of Apple's "lifestyle" suite, iLife, now iLife '09. The suite contains 5+ applications: iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, iWeb, and iDVD, with iTunes being the "+", since it's occasionally part of iLife, but exists on its own outside of that suite. Every Mac has iTunes, but iLife is a separate install.

iPhoto '09
The major changes in iPhoto wrap around two words: Faces and Places. Faces is Apple-ese for the new facial recognition code in iPhoto that allows you to pick a face in a picture, tag it with a name, have iPhoto find that person in every picture in your library and tag them in those pictures.

iMovie '09
While Steve Jobs may have thought iMovie '08 was an amazing new version of Apple's consumer-class video editing product (and for many customers, it was a good product), for those used to iMovie '06's feature set, it was ... disappointing.

IMovie '09 aims to fix many of these complaints by adding/returning more advanced features, so that "consumer" isn't a synonym for "dumbed-down." The one that appeals to me the most, at least personally, is the advanced drag and drop, which allows you to move video and/or audio clips around the same way you would text in a word processor. Select, drag, and drop, or "video editing for people who don't care about the tape paradigm." This also allows you to drop just the audio from a clip, or create things like cutaways, picture-in-picture, and other effects via drag-and-drop.

GarageBand '09
GarageBand '09 adds the next logical feature: lessons. The big new feature for Apple's home recording studio application are "how to play guitar" and "how to play piano" lessons. Taking this concept one step further, Apple not only includes "generic music teacher guy" lessons, but Artist Lessons. So, want to learn how to play "Roxanne"? Sting shows you how, along with background on the song itself. Other artists include Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones, John Fogerty, and others.

Numbers '09
Like Pages, Numbers '09 improvements are in the "well DUH" category: formula improvements, table improvements, better charts, better template chooser, etc. What wasn't talked about, and isn't even on the "What's New" section for Numbers on Apple's site is the addition of an AppleScript dictionary to Numbers, so you can finally automate the silly thing. Having had a bit of time to look at the AppleScript implementation, it's a decent 1.0 setup. You can't create formulas or complex spreadsheet operations via AppleScript, but you can do a decent job of setting up spreadsheets and some basic formatting.

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