Macworld offered plenty of new news, plenty of surprises, some disappointment, and the anticipated came true.
New updates to iLife for ‘06, iWork (without a true spreadsheet), and better integration of everything with .Mac.
Still priced at $79 ($99 for Family Pack) and free with each new Mac, iLife matures to a remarkably balanced suite of appllications that further differentiate Macs from PCs.
New in iPhoto
At the basic level, iPhoto is deemed faster and loaded with new features. Among them is the ability to handle up to 250,000 photos. I’m at 8,000 so I was getting worried.
Included in iPhoto is a new scroll guide which lets you see where you are when scrolling through the entire library.
Another feature that sounds better than it is is Photocasting. Think of it as Podcasting with your own digital photos. Of course, it’s better to have a $99 .Mac account, but getting the photos into .Mac is a single click.
Further encroaching into Adobe’s graphics territory, iPhoto now does full screen editing with menus, palettes, toolbars. iPhoto is coming of age with more graphic tools.
iPhoto also lets you create Calendars, Greeting Cards, and new Book formats. Your refrigerator is about to get assaulted. There’s also a host of new special effects to improve your photos.
iPhoto also integrates with a new iLife application called iWeb for online publishing of digital photos.
Added to iLife is iWeb, a web page development application that’s integrated with other iLife applications and .Mac
iWeb does not appear to be competition for Rapidweaver or Karelia’s new Sandvox, though full integration to .Mac will impress some users.
There are loads of Apple designed web page templates and other cool features which make iWeb distinct from other web page applications.
The key differantiator is integration. iWeb makes nice looking web pages on .Mac and pulls in everything from other iLife apps.
Years after introducing iMove, there’s still nothing quite like it on Windows. iMovie gets a makeover with new audio tools, real time effects and titles.
You can now open more than one iMovie project at a time, create video Podcasts, and export to an iPod with just a click.
Widescreen menus and DVDs are the big news for iDVD.
There’s moe 3rd party DVD support than the previous version, along with the standard drag and drop of movies and photos from other iLife applications.
Still a niche application, Garageband has little competition but new features that more fully integrate into iLife and .Mac.
Garageband can now becomes a Podcasting studio with a Podcast artwork track built in. Also available in the new version of over 200 free jingles and effects, a speech enhancer, and a new Jam Pack (World Music).
The big trick is Podcasting, though, and integration with .Mac to move your Podcasts to your .Mac account in just a few clicks.
Nothing New in iTumes
We didn’t read or hear anything new about iTunes, though I noticed the term “Vingle” on a number of graphics in the iTunes Music Store.
“Vingle” would appear to be a video single.
Apple’s iLife suite is also Intel-ready as Universal Binaries, so all the applications run on Intel-based Macs such as the new iMac and MacBook Pro (that name will take awhile to get used to).
One of the disappointments is iWork. Missing is the spreadsheet function, which I call “Numbers.” Microsoft said Office was selling at record numbers on the Mac, so maybe Apple is keeping the crimp on iWork.
New in Pages are 66 templates and 27 new designs. Import of AppleWorks and Microsoft Word is improved, as well as integration with other Mac applications.
Keynote goes to version 3 with more themes, more cinematic transitions, more animations, and PC and Mac import/export to PowerPoint. A new light table makes checking slides easier.
.Mac Means “Share”
If there’s one word that seems to describe Apple’s new direction in software, it’s “share.” Integration is in.
So it is with .Mac. Publish web pages in one click with iWeb. Photocast with iPhoto. Use iDisk to exchange files. iSync to stay in sync.
Video Podcast with iMovie. Even create RSS feeds and publish iPhoto albums from your library. Click, click, done.
The biggest surprise is the price. Unchanged at $99. Some were predicting a drop to $69 for one of the annual Apple taxes.
Surprised? Expected more? I was pleased with the changes to iLife and will give a more in depth view of iWeb when it’s available (now shipping).
The good news is all these applications are shipped as Universal Binaries and will run on older Macs and new Intel-based Macs.
Same with OS X, now at version 10.4.4. Intel ready.
Apple’s Pro applications, such as Final Cut Pro, SoundTrack, Motion, Logic, and so on, will be ready with Universal Binaries by spring.
QuickTime was updated to version 7.0.4 and iTunes updated to version 6.0.2. Both are available from Software Update.
The biggest surprise has to be the Intel Macs. Not that they’re shipping (or, in the case of the MacBook, will ship), but that it’s the iMac (hottest selling Mac) and the PowerBook that goes away.
Steve Jobs sure knows how to do a “One more thing…” What’s left? Nothing about Media Center so there’s more to come from Apple.
Click Here to view Bambi’s minute-by-minute update from the keynote presentation.