Comments on iLife '11: GarageBand and iMovie
This is my third look at iLife '11 which includes Garageband, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and iWeb. Although iTunes is a part of iLife and it integrates with the other parts, it is installed and updated separately, because of its functions as a conduit for online services and synchronising of iOS devices, like the iPhone.
After I wrote the first part of my look at iLife '11, a regular reader of eXtensions tried to buy the suite and was told by the unidentified retailer that iWeb and iDVD were no longer included. In a panic, he contacted me and I reassured him with a screenshot of the installation: he would not have updated.
Both iWeb and iDVD are still parts of iLife, although what happens in the future is anyone's guess. They have hardly been mentioned by Apple in the last couple of years. I am not a fan of iWeb preferring to code my own (simple) pages, and many people now blog using online methods, like WordPress. Two recent events have me speculating on the future of iDVD: the MacBook Air and its OS X on a stick; plus the impending arrival of the Mac App Store.
The MacBook Air has never had a DVD drive and still sells quite well: updates are carried out using other computers via wifi, internet downloads and transfers by flash drives. If we can download applications, why not the operating system? We already install updates in this fashion.
Apple added features like "Magic GarageBand", a jamming feature, and more recently, lessons. The basic set was useful and there were lessons by famous artists, for example Sting, who would explain how they worked. However, in some areas of the world (copyright again) they were unavailable. Lessons have now been augmented by a feature that compares learner input with the music as it should be. It marks wrong notes and timing problems on the music notation.
While professionals will go for Final Cut (which is due an update in the new year), most of us do not need such richly-featured software. Home users do not want (or need) the complexities of high-level video editing software. We have small, light cameras with video, or (in my case) the iPhone. I also have a new iPod touch on test that has HD video as well. Locally-favoured Nokia phones and others also have video recording features.
iMovie (integrating with the other parts of iLife) makes it easy to import, select, edit and export (in several formats) our clips; and the speed at which we can make such good looking movies with transitions and effects removes the chore aspects.
The iLife '11 suite has the components to handle most media types easily and produce satisfying results. It is part of the bundled software with all new Macs.
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