iLife 06 is the latest version of Apple’s popular creative suite and once again promises a plethora of new features.
Included in the box is a copy of iPhoto 6, iTunes 6, iMovie HD, iDVD, GarageBand and a new application that is called iWeb.
At the crux of the package is iWeb, Apple’s new basic answer to creating web pages without the need for any coding knowledge.
To say that it is incredibly simple to use would be an understatement. It is as easy as draging and droping images, media, and music on to the empty page to build them - if only Pocket-lint’s coding was the same way.
Of course this simplicity has its drawbacks, mainly that you won’t be able to do anything sophisticated, nor will you be able to update any page singularly without saving everything, but for those looking to create simple sites to share and are daunted by where to start this is brilliant.
On to iPhoto then. This has had a few updates but nothing groundbreaking. Image hoarders will be pleased to hear Apple has increased the picture limit from 25,000 pictures to 250,000. A number of special effects buttons have also been added.
Now at the press of a mouse button you can turn your image “Antique” add “blurred effects” like some 70s porno shot and even “fade” colour. The effects are simple and easy to apply but in reality we’d expect you to use them rarely.
As with other programs in the package, Apple has implemented plenty of iWeb support. Now at the press of another button you can start publishing your images with their very own RSS feed that will update its subscribers when you upload new content.
However, the best thing about this new added feature is that you don’t need Apple’s .Mac connection (currently £99 a year) to benefit from the feature and the software allows you to save your layouts and accompanying images to a folder to then upload to your own website if you wish.
When it comes to camcorders and making home movies, in steps iMovie and its authoring partner iDVD. Here updates to iMovie HD include HD support built-in as standard and the addition means you can get yourself ready for the onslaught of high-def in good time.
The interface is simple and easy to work, and most should be able to understand what things do without needing a degree in Movie editing or its software.
New features this time around include the ability to remove wind noise or camera hum by using the graphic equalizer to change the levels of individual audio frequencies and improve Magic mode that scans incoming camera footage, adds edits, music and transitions so you get a finished product in seconds rather than hours. The results aren’t perfect but those eager to see the fruits of their labours will be pleased.
Those looking to make the next special effects blockbuster will also be pleased to see that you can add crazy special effects like lighting, rain or antique feel to the movies and then export the whole thing to your iPod, phone, the iDVD package or of course iWeb. You can also import your GarageBand scores into iMovie HD.
Not being a musician myself, I’ve always found it hard to get excited about GarageBand and how, apart from making dance music that mindlessly repeats itself, I could benefit from it.
Now however, Apple has embraced the podcast and that means plenty of support in the new version.
Aside from all that music stuff, you can now record narration in GarageBand and add loops to create the audio. You can add markers, artwork, URLs, and chapter titles, as well as episode information all at the touch of a couple of buttons and yes you guessed it, it's extremely easy to use.
If you have a digital camera, camcorder or fancy making your own podcast then this package certainly ticks all the boxes.