You should follow me on Twitter.


What Everybody Ought to Know About iLife ’08

This morning the postman rang the doorbell and brought the new iLife suite from Apple — iLife ’08, introduced by Steve Jobs at Tuesday’s keynote on the Apple campus in Cupertino, California.

iLife ’08 consists of five single applications which have been around in previous versions of the bundle: iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, iWeb and iDVD. Whereas iDVD only got a slight refinement, the other applications pride themselves for their convenient new features — iMovie has been completely rewritten and is barely recognizable.

In the following paragraphs I will examine each application of iLife ’08 and tell you what I think of the changes and innovations Apple made in order to enhance this product.

iLife '08

iPhoto

The biggest step forward in organising my photos with iPhoto is called Events. When importing photos into iPhoto ’08 it automatically groups them according to the time they were taken. All I need to do now is enter a name to the Event. If I attended multiple Events on one day, I may have to double-check whether I need to split or merge Events manually, but all in all it is a much faster way to manage photos in comparison to creating a bunch of albums.

A nifty feature in the Events overview: by moving the mouse pointer over a single Event you can skim through the pictures inside and quickly find out whether this is the event you were looking for or not.

It seems to me that Apple did very much to improve the way we organise our photographs. But there is one thing I do not understand: Why should I hide pictures which I do not want to see? If I already trashed my out-of-focus photos and the like and now there are great photos and some that are less great, why should I hide them to prevent clutter? I think I would rather trash them as well — otherwise they only eat up my harddisk’s capacity.

If you own a .Mac account (I don’t), iPhoto gives you an easy way to distribute your pictures among family and friends. The new .Mac Web Gallery feature does a nice job presenting your pictures online — check out an example.

Leaving out the many small changes to the UI and the editing tools, there’s one more feature I would like to showcase here: Apple calls it Unified search and with it comes — for the first time in iPhoto’s history — real tagging! Though Apple did not take over the common web 2.0 terminology and calls it Keywords, I’m finally able to tag my pictures right in the overview and do not need to open any special dialog to select some of the predefined keywords which cannot be changed outside of the corresponding preference panel.

iMovie

We’ve had iTunes and iPhoto before, they are the tools to manage our music and our pictures. And they both kind of do video as well — but until now, there wasn’t an application dedicated to managing our video libraries.

Since iMovie ’08 is a completely new application the installer does not delete any previously installed version found on your system — it will be stored in a folder inside of your applications directory.

iMovie ’08 does a great job displaying all video clips on the system (it searches your whole harddisk and even external drives) and allows to skim through them by hovering the mouse pointer over the various clips — just like iPhoto, it also organises everything by Events so we can find specific clips easier and faster.

And now for the feature which was all the old iMovie was about: moviemaking. I wish I had had iMovie ’08 one month earlier when I had to record an event and to produce a 15-minute video which should be presented that same day. With the help of a friend who did the camera job in the end it worked, but I think the constant stress-level could have been lower with the renewed iMovie, because moviemaking is much faster now. All you need to do now is skim through your clips to find the pieces you’d like to use for your movie, click and drag to select and finally drop them into the project window — done.

To share the brand-new video, iMovie ’08 can not only export it into various formats but also assists you if you want to publish your video online — either to the new .Mac Web Gallery or directly to YouTube.

Now all I need is a good high definition video camera — the abbreviation AVCHD sounds great ;-)

GarageBand

GarageBand ’08′s most advertised feature by far is called Magic GarageBand. Launch GarageBand, click Magic GarageBand, choose a genre and drag in the instruments you’d like to play and boom! — GarageBand generates a new project file for you to mess about ;-)

With this update Apple finally made it easier to arrange songs. So far you had to copy and paste or move around pieces of every track of the song — it is barely possible to repeat a verse without having problems with lining things up properly. GarageBand ’08 brings the possibility to define sections so we can easily rearrange our songs.

I love listening to good music, but I’m not the guy you should ask to compose your next single — let me do the cover instead. So which are the features I’d use GarageBand for? I experimented with podcasting on MacTutorials.de and just ordered a nice mic to improve my audio recording possibilities. And there’s a bunch of audio files with interviews I recently did with a friend — we’re using GarageBand for post-production. Though it is not as professional as Soundtrack Pro from the Final Cut Pro suite is, it serves our needs for this project perfectly — why bother using more complex applications?

iWeb

Since I don’t use iWeb to create websites or to publish this blog, there’s not much that I can say about this application. But keeping an eye on one of my brother’s activities I think it is a nice and easy way to create websites.

With the newly integrated feature called Web-Widgets Apple added a quick solution for everyone to include YouTube videos or Google Adsense advertisements on websites — people don’t need to be tech-savvy to publish their thoughts, videos and pictures on the world wide web.

On the other hand there’s still much room for improvement — I’m not yet happy with the tech solution. The templates still are too far away from valid code, other common symptoms of iWeb-created websites are divitis and tons of inline CSS.

iDVD

iDVD is another tool I don’t tend to use often. I need to create DVDs only on very rare occasions, such as the event I wrote about in the iMovie part of this post.

iDVD also is the one tool that has not changed as much as the other four applications have — you’ll find small shifts in the UI as well as some nice new themes. That’s it — in case I missed something important, let me know!

Conclusion

I’m happy with this upgrade, especially the new possibilities and organising functions iPhoto ’08 and iMovie ’08 brought are great — both of them as well as GarageBand are closer than ever to the professional products in their particular fields and offer pretty nice functionality while their ease of use is still preserved.

I don’t regret this purchase — especially since I didn’t have to pay the full price but only 20% of the Family pack (since the whole family works with Macs and there are five licenses included with the Family pack).

To learn more about iLife ’08, check out Apple’s guided tour or browse the video tutorials (every software maker should offer video tutorials like these — it’s the same with the iPhone ads: you know how to use the product before you have it in your own hands…).

Let me know what you think about iLife ’08 — which features are still on your wishlist and for which tasks do you use applications from the iLife-suite? Did you already upgrade or do you hesitate for certain reasons? I’m anxious about your opinion about iLife ’08 and it’s predecessors…


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. JulianSchrader.de | What Everybody Ought to Know About iWork ‘08 pingbacked Posted August 15, 2007, 3:36 pm

Comments

  1. Quote

    I’m hesitating.
    I don’t use the iLife apps that often, so I don’t know if I’ upgrade at all.
    Plus I have two Macs and a family licencense is Ǩ99.

    How did you pay only 20% ? That’s cheap! Did you get any special educational prices?

    I’d rather see myself buying iWork 08, since it’ll be more useful for me (I’m a student).

  2. Quote
    Bernhard said August 10, 2007, 9:59 pm:

    20%? hmm… 5 family members?

    as you described the new features they sound not that good. bur i’m sure i’ll test them and see.

    Can you easily edit iPhotos Photos with other picture editors like Photoshop?

    I won’t use the other features becouse i’m not doing many videos and i mouviemaked them, if ever, with windows software, that worked always good for me.

  3. Quote

    @Yannic: I’m going to review iWork ’08 tomorrow within the next few days, I’ve got it here as well (and I’m a student as well, too).

    @Bernhard: iPhoto is a very useful picture management software, but I also tend to edit my photos in Photoshop. It’s as easy as pie: Just drag the pictures you want to edit to the Dock and drop them on the Photoshop icon you’re almost done ;-)

    @all: I’m sorry for any confusion the part about the price may have caused I wasn’t exactly describing why I only paid 20% and updated the respective part of the post.

  4. Quote

    I use iPhoto the most in the iLife suite, and I find the changes made to iPhoto in iLife ’08 to be quite useful. It will be interesting to see if they update Aperture with some of these features. I’m looking forward to trying iMovie too.

  5. Quote

    I think iPhoto is the most important iLife app since nearly everybody owns a digital camera or some kind of camera phone the resulting pictures maybe lie about some days on the camera’s memory card but once they’re transferred to a PC, things get ugly unless there’s a good application to organize them.

    I hate folders full of pictures ;-)

    This development slowly appears with video as well I think iMovie will get more important in near future and Apple did a good job simplifying moviemaking now. Good timing.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.