Another year another update to Apple's iLife 08 suite, but have the new updates, upgrades and additions to this year's offering made a difference? Should you be rushing out for the upgrade? We take a closer look.

For those new to the Mac, Apple iLife 08 is the company's multimedia suite that offers a bundle of packages to allow you to do everything from edit photos with iPhoto, to managing your music with iTunes to making movies with iMovie.

There are no new packages this year, and of the five packages included only two of them get the lion's share of updates, the rest are just tweaks.

iPhoto, sees Apple add a feature called Events that allow you to quickly arrange new pictures into events like birthday parties rather than just albums. Events are automatically created and set up date and time and it's a nice feature. Apple, and rightly so, have realised that we go to an event and take pictures. Therefore it seems only logical to cluster these images together.

Of course you can abandon this feature altogether if you so wish and opt for the window that any iPhoto user will be familiar with that lists all your images.

Also noticeable in the software is the improved speed, the package seems quicker to load and display images, regardless of catalogue size and it's a welcomed improvement (we had stopped using iLife 07 because of this issue).

Elsewhere in the iLife 08 suite, iMovie gets a complete overhaul.

The update, which introduces a completely new interface to the previous version is, according to Steve Jobs designed to make it easier, according to Jobs, to make movies.

While other reviewers, including the New York Times' David Pogue have slated the new interface for the non movie editing type I think it's a good user friendly design that embraces the event elements show in iPhoto while still allowing you to have basic editing controls over your clips.

While many will despise the lack of a timeline, it's a lot easier to add new clips that you record with your computers iSight, or import without having to restrict it all to the one project.

iMovie '08 will also be able to take video from DV camcorders or even the newer AVCHD camcorders.

Another new feature is greater YouTube support and the application offers one click encoding to publish to the video sharing site.

In addition to making the end footage suitable for YouTube, users can also be able to choose a host of other formats including the Apple iPhone and a variety of HD-ready options.

It also allows you to create a library for all you video that you can scroll through as if it were photos.

As for the other three packages within iLife; iWeb gets live web widgets, GoogleMaps support and the option of revunue streams via Google AdSense support from within. There will also be a range of new Themes.

While iDVD gets pro encoding and new themes and GarageBand a couple of new tweaks here and there including the ability to define sections of your song into intro, verse, chorus and then copy, move, or delete at will.


One of Steve Jobs' promises when he announced the software was that it is supposed to make everything easier to do. iPhoto for organising pictures, iMovies for making films and iWeb for getting it all up online quickly.

To that testament, it does.

Those new to image editing and album collecting will find iPhoto a breeze to use, while those looking to make movies quickly will also love the new interface, we certainly did, however for those who are on the verge of looking for something more than just the basics there are better dedicated programs out there.

Trouble is however, your budget will have to be considerably more than the £55 it will cost you to buy this package.