Macworld Aftermath: A Closer Look At iLife, iWork - InformationWeek

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Macworld Aftermath: A Closer Look At iLife, iWork

The most overlooked news at Macworld was about the significant upgrades to iLife, iWork, and the MacBook Pro, Apple's workhorse of a notebook. Our Mac expert hits the highlights.

While I disagree with how Apple went about announcing the end of its direct participation in Macworld Conference & Expo, I can't really be that harsh on it for doing so. Apple has been pulling out of shows at a fairly steady pace over the years, so decamping the Macworld Conference & Expo was more of a when than an if.

iLife '09 contains iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, iWeb, and iDVD.
(click for image gallery)

An Apple Macworld keynote is an interesting thing because in the end, it's a PR presentation. Things are announced, and the presentation is designed to get you in the mood to buy those things. Over the years, the Mac community has made the keynote into a lot more, but viewed dispassionately, it's about two hours of PR.

Phil Schiller gave this year's keynote (hence "Philnote"), and while he's not as good as Steve Jobs, he did a good job. And while he wasn't announcing anything earth-shattering, the content was not bad at all. (To be somewhat blunt, Steve Jobs has given less than a handful of earth-shattering keynotes. The rest have been fairly average, but the Mac Community has turned all of them into the pronouncements of a deity. So this keynote really wasn't any kind of nadir.)

Schiller skipped the usual financial slides (with the state of the stock market and economy, this was no surprise), and even though he was visibly nervous at the start, (who wouldn't have been?), he eventually found his groove, and showed off the three new products.

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. iLife '09 is bundled with every new iMac, although owners of older machines will need to pay for an upgrade.

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.

That's a pretty cool feature, especially for people like me, who initially tried tagging things all nice and detailed, and then gave up because it was annoying and tedious. Being able to find all the pictures I have of my son, or my wife, in one step is more than a little handy. Apple also tied Faces into iPhoto's "Smart Albums," so I can create a Smart Album that's tied to all the pictures of my wife, and any time I add pictures to my library that have her in the picture, they'll just show up in that Smart Album. You can also create Smart Albums with groups of people, so you could, say, create a Smart Album for your family, your kids, friends, or what have you.

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