I’ve had two days of iLife ‘08 and I’ve developed a few iOpinions, especially about iWeb, iPhoto, and very especially the new iMovie.
The most glaring issue is that Apple is purposely keeping the iLife applications dumbed down so they can upgrade users to the Pro apps.
So, you say, “That’s a heady statement, Kate. What do you have to back it up?” Take iMovie ‘08. Please.
I’m one of those who liked using the old iMovie HD ‘06 version. iMovie is not Final Cut Express or Final Cut Pro, but it was a very decent video editor with plenty of capability built-in—enough so that I didn’t bother to spend money on Apple’s pro video package.
iMove HD had all the basics. Video timeline. Audio timeline. Clip bin. Easy import. Easy export.
What iMove HD lacked was a way to manage video clips and projects, and an easy way to sort through clips for scenes. The new iMovie ‘08 takes care of that shortcoming with exactly what the old version lacked. Managing clips and movies and projects is easier in iMovie ‘08.
But that’s it for me. The problem is that the rest of iMovie ‘08 is aimed at video neophytes; those who wouldn’t know a video and audio timeline from the various and sundry versions of Windows Vista (you need a scorecard or program for that effort).
During the presentation of the new iLife, Steve Jobs mentioned that one of their software engineers couldn’t put together a video of a recent vacation, so he decided to create a new iMovie that would make video creation faster, easier, etc. Blah, blah, blah, and more PR speak.
How hard was it to put together a movie in the old iMovie? The guy must be living waaaaay too deep in ones and zeros if he couldn’t figure out iMovie HD ‘06 and create a movie in minutes.
Import video, select clips, drag clips to timeline, add transitions and text and effects to clips. Export. Damn. That was hard, huh? And it was done on an easy to figure out timeline metaphor.
The new iMovie ‘08 is missing that level of simplicity and replaced it with even more simplicity—making the end result more difficult for former users of iMovie. I’m not sure that new users to iMovie will find the ‘08 version any easier.
Gone is the iMovie timeline. Gone is handy transport control access. New are all kinds of buttons that only newbies will love. Apple has dumbed down iMovie ‘08.
Why did Apple do this? It was not to create a video editing tool that could create a movie in minutes. iMovie HD could do that. Apple is focusing on the masses and that means keeping it simple. Dumbed down simple.
You see the same approach in iPhoto and iWeb, especially the latter, which, while looking great just try building a web site using it. You’ll love the look, then get tired of the limitations.
GarageBand is a bit different since audio quality will be the same whether using SoundTrack Pro, Logic, or GarageBand. Only the capabilities are dumbed down in GarageBand.
iMovie is the worst offender because the previous version was a joy to use. Apple blatantly segregates applications by Pro user vs. Average Joe (or, Jolene) user. For those of us who find the “free” applications somewhat limiting and perhaps a bit sophomoric, Apple has Pro apps waiting around—for a price.
Don’t like the limitations in iPhoto? Go with Aperture for a mere $300. Don’t like the limitations in iMovie? Go with FinalCut Express HD for a mere $300.
See how that works? It’s almost as if Apple has become the techno gadget drug dealer with free samples of media coolness. Once you’re hooked, the price goes up.