The phrase on the box is “Microsoft Office for your life” and it’s a pretty good way of showing what Apple hopes to achieve from the software package. Packed in the box are upgraded versions of iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes and a completely new software application GarageBand.
IPhoto 4 offers a series on enhancements on the standard version that is shipped with OS10.3 and these include elements that bring it up to the spec of the latest versions of Adobe’s Photoshop Album or Jasc’s Photo Album software. Key elements include enhanced organisation of your most recent film rolls and photos with the new ability to display photos from a specific year with the click of a button.
Other new elements include a rating system, again similar to Microsoft’s picture album software. The rating system works in a similar way to the iTunes rating system and users can rate their picture for easy classification and therefore recall later. Those keen to show off their creations can opt for new sideshow effects and the storage capabilities have also been increased.
While American users can benefit from the addition of online services to print photos and other memorabilia, us Europeans still have little option with empty promises rather than a plethora of choice.
It’s not just iPhoto that gets an update and fans of iMovie will be pleased to see a number of new additions to the package. Main features include easier editing through a new trimming system that allows you to combine multiple editing steps into one move and the addition of an audio waveform time viewer so you can see when your score or sound effects will kick in.
Like iPhoto there is also new elements to the presentation side of things and these include improved titles, new transitions and even effects. Another nice feature is Apple support for its webcam - iSight, and this is a great addition if you are without a DV camcorder.
iDVD mainly receives theme updates - 20 of them in fact and you can now add your own intro movies just like your favourite DVD’s before the menu appears. In addition to that Apple has also fixed the problem of limited footage issues and expanded it up to two hours of video on one DVD.
iTunes gets the least updated additions to it in the set with added ability to stream music to Mac and Windows computers in your home and the ability to encode music to the ACC format so you can get more songs on your iPod.
Not content with adding new features to Apple’s photo and movie manipulation software, the introduction of GarageBand will service budding musicians, The simple interface allows you to easily create music by either recording your musical input or simply dragging and dropping pre-recorded sound files onto a timeline. Once there you can edit pretty much any element including tempo, volume and pitch. Once down you are then offered the chance to output the file to a number of formats, including setting it up with iTunes to share with your iPod.
For £40 you get a lot in the box. That said apart from GarageBand this is really only building on elements that are already shipped with OS 10.3. For £40 however GarageBand, if you are looking for a consumer music maker, is worth that price alone and it seems strange that Apple feels it has to bundle the program in a package filled with updates. Yes it is Office for your life, but for most you won't need to upgrade your life if you've already updated to 10.3.