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Apple iLife '11 review

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Apple iLife '11
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  • iLife '11 - Single User (Full Product, Mac)

Summary

The changes to this iteration of iLife are perhaps the most minor we’ve seen to date, but Apple doesn’t deny that this is an update more than a revolutionary refresh. That Apple’s website invites you to “Upgrade Now” not to “Buy Now,” isn’t just because iLife ’11 is bundled with all new Macs, we feel.

The price reflects the nature of iLife ’11, too. At £45 the whole set of programs costs less than a single rival to each component part might. Obviously iPhoto and iMovie aren’t going to rival Photoshop or Final Cut for users who need those more powerful applications, but for the casual user just grabbing content from their iPhone and chucking it on Facebook or Flikr that’s not necessary.

The mix of component programs remains nearly unchanged, iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand offering ways to improve or just play with photos, movies and music respectively. We did notice that iWeb seems to have been omitted from the iLife family, but we can't see anyone lamenting its departure.

iMovie remains as powerful an editing application as your average iPhone or Flip cinematographer requires. The additions in this iteration look particularly geared towards users of small, portable video cameras – such as those built into your iPhone or iPod touch.

iMovie’s image stabilisation ability is a prime example of this beginner-friendly approach. On importing a video file from an external device, iMovie will ask if you want to apply stabilisation to it (you can also do this later if you chose). This processing did a pretty good job of removing the odd judder from our videos, of the sort induced by holding a small recording device with one hand – intentional shakes remained as present as ever though. Processing takes a couple of minutes on longer videos, or less powerful Macs (say, an 11in Air), but is tolerably fast.

Another option available on importing is to have People in your video files tagged using the same Faces detection as featured in iPhoto. As well as identifying which people are in any given video, this also gives the ability to find shots featuring anyone, specific persons or groups of people, which should prove useful if you’re the type who ends up with holiday videos comprising three hours of scenery to every few minutes of family members doing something.

Jim Fulton

November 10, 2010, 10:06 pm

As an iLife user and iPhoto fan (just can't be arsed with Adobe's clunkBridge) - as long as its used with the indispensible iPhotoBuddy, this update triggers that TR staple phrase - meh.





Now where the hell is iWork 11, been trying to fit a large table over two pages since it worked in iWork 06, till those pesky developers developed it....

Pbryanw

November 10, 2010, 11:39 pm

Looking at some rumours, it seems the individual iLife apps will make their way onto the forthcoming App Store. If so, it seems a great way to pick up iPhoto by itself (pricing seems to be around $19.99 for individual apps).





@Jim - If another rumour is believed to be true, Apple are holding back the release of iWork, to coincide with the opening of the App Store. Link to story below:


http://www.appleinsider.com/ar...

speedyg2012

November 11, 2010, 5:04 am

Doesn't seem much better than whats available on Microsoft Live and that's free....

Hamish Campbell

November 11, 2010, 1:29 pm

@speedyg2012: Probably true for most users, though there are two special groupds





1. Mac users.


2. Musicians. There is nothing like garageband, which is a pretty awesome tool for the price. However I recognise that most people wouldn't get much out of it being not musically inclined.





On a side note, if you want to learn an instrument, get a teacher, not a few videos.

CodeMonkey

November 11, 2010, 4:55 pm

Ah, but will upgrading nuke my entire iPhoto library like iLife 10 did?

Hamish Campbell

November 12, 2010, 1:10 pm

@CodeMonkey - quite a lot of complaints on errr apple or amazon (can't remember which), and I think that was one of the issues.

rdsh

November 12, 2010, 1:40 pm

@speedyg2012 - I signed in to Microsoft Live to see just what I could do with my photos compared with iPhoto '11.





In MS Live I could upload photos into albums that I can share with friends (although that sharing doesn't automatically include sites like Facebook or Flickr). I was also able to create a slide show plus if I wanted I could order prints. Oh I nearly forgot - I could sort the photos in different ways and rename them.





Unlike in iPhoto '11 - I couldn't edit the photos in any way, I couldn't create books or calendars very easily from them, I couldn't pull up a map of where all my photos were taken and there was certainly no face recognition. Basically all MS Live seems to let me do is create rather plain looking online photo albums.





As for what there is in MS Live that compares with GarageBand or iMovie ..... well I couldn't find it.

speedyg2012

November 12, 2010, 7:32 pm

@rdsh True there isn't much functionality, but surely the likes of Paint/GIMP/Movie Maker/Handbrake et al. can offer functionality most casual users need? Its not going to be anywhere as good as Photoshop or Sony Vegas say, so it seems pricey for what it offers.





Garageband seems an extra that's not really going to appeal to iLife's original demographic, plus there is loads of tutorials and free software available to learn chords and other instruments before you have the option of taking lessons if your seriously into your music.

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