Today Steve Jobs hosted an Apple keynote presentation appropriately titled Back to the Mac. In it he demonstrated the new version of iLife ’11, highlighting major upgrades to iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand; introduced FaceTime for the Mac; previewed the next version of Mac OS X; and unveiled two new MacBook Air notebooks. It’s breakdown time.
iLife ’11: The latest version of iLife packs the usual suspects–iPhone, iMovie, GarageBand, iWeb, and iDVD. The former three have been given major upgrades in functionality.
iPhoto ’11 features a new full-screen mode. With a click of a button (the green [+] located at the top left corner of the window), desktop applications, the menu bar, and other distractions disappear. In full-screen mode you take advantage of more screen real estate when viewing pictures in Events, Faces, Places, Albums, and Projects. Projects is a new way to view your collection of books and letterpress cards on a wooden bookshelf. The ability to create custom letterpress cards is a new feature; 15 distinct themes are at your disposal to customize and order directly from Apple to send to relatives and friends. When you go to create a book or letterpress card, a new dynamic theme browser in carousel style will be presented to you. There are also a bunch of new slideshow themes including Holiday Mobile, Reflections, and Places. Want to email a group of photos to a friend? Now you can create and send an email message within iPhoto; no need to jump out and into a mail client. You can choose from eight themes to customize how you want your pictures to be presented in the email. And lastly there’s Facebook enhancements. Within iPhoto you can now publish photos directly to your wall or to an existing album, and if your friends leave comments on your photos you’ll be able to view them in iPhoto. You can also tag faces and browse all of your Facebook albums in iPhoto; no need to jump out and into a browser.
iMovie ’11 features new audio editing tools. Detailed wave forms are color coded, so now you can see where audio levels are too loud or quiet and adjust them properly. Also there’s a new single-row view that shows you your entire movie project in one horizontal row, making it easier to edit your soundtrack. One-step effects are also at your disposal. Adding visual effects like instant replay, flash and hold, and jump cuts at beats can be done with minimal amount of clicks. The new People Finder feature works similarly to Faces in iPhoto; the software will analyze your video to identify the parts with people in them. It also finds the close-ups, medium shots, or wide angles making it easier to find these specific shots during an edit session. There are two new themes: sports and news. And now you can publish your movies directly Vimeo,CNN iReport, and Apple Podcast Producer in addition to iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, and your mobile devices. Last there’s movie trailers. You can choose from 15 templates to create professional-looking movie trailers out of your clips. Apple commissioned the London Symphony Orchestra to record (in Abbey Road Studios) and perform original tracks for you to use when creating movie trailers. Outline and storyboard views make it simple to put together a movie trailer in no time.
GarageBand ’11 includes two new features called Flex Time and Groove Matching. Flex Time allows you to fix timing mistakes on the fly; you can literally click and drag any part of a waveform to change the timing of a note or beat. Groove Matching is described as “an automatic spell checker for bad rhythm.” If one (or multiple) instruments appears to be out of rhythm, all you have to do is select the one instrument that has the perfect rhythm (called the Groove Track) and all the other instrument tracks will instantly match it. A new feature called “How Did I Play?” gives you the opportunity to play along with a piano or guitar lesson, record yourself, and test how you’re doing in real time. Like Guitar Hero, the GarageBand lesson will keep track of your performance with a performance meter and show you missed notes in red to help you perfect your skills. A track progess bar will show you how better (or worse) you’re performing a particular song by date. Finally, there’s new lessons for piano and guitar, as well as new guitar amps and stompbox effects.
iLife ’11 is available for purchase today at $49. A family pack, which includes 5 licenses, goes for $79. Keep in mind iLife ships free with every new Mac. READ MORE Back to the Mac: iLife ’11, FaceTime, Mac OS X Lion, MacBook Air