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iLife '11 Highlights

Today Apple has released the much needed iLife '11 suite of software for your Mac. Amazing new features in three of the five flagship products. Sadly, no change to iWeb or iDVD, but at least they haven't deprecated them just yet. In typical Apple fashion, for upgrades it's only $49, and free on all new Macs. This is absolutely the best value in software you can find anywhere. 

Watch the Video Showcase to see what's new.

iPhoto 

http://www.apple.com/ilife/iphoto/

The new iPhoto demos great on new machines, but I'll be interested to see how it performs on my iMac 17" CoreDuo - one of the original Intel Macs. I have a feeling it will do just fine, as this Mac is still pretty healthy. I may not get the benefit of all of the speed, but I suspect it will run without issue. 

Highlights:

- Spend more time in Full screen modes. Use the full screen to browse, edit, and display the photos all of the time. 

- Facebook Enhancements allow you to share your photos, read comments that were made on on your photos, etc.  Everything can be done inside of iPhoto, which actually allows you to keep track of what you have shared and what you haven't. A pretty nifty feature. Additionally it shows all of your Facebook albums, even ones not added via iPhoto.

- Email photos. While it doesn't sound awesome, it certainly looks it. You can select a series of photos, and create a postcard out of them to email directly from iPhoto. It works with most of the popular mail services: MobileMe, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Windows Live Hotmail, and AOL. 

-Several new slideshows and music to go with them. 

- Fantastic new book printing services. Now there is a dynamic theme creator which allows you to view each theme on a carousel. This is an intelligent system, as it uses the key photo to do the cover, higher rated images appear larger, and it can group the images by the events. 

- Brand new letterpress cards. Each letterpress card is made with the old school printing technology to do the embossing, and then they are sent to be digitally processed with your images.

iMovie '11

http://www.apple.com/ilife/imovie/

This is a huge new release of iMovie. It includes more flexible audio editing for sound effects, voiceover, and music. During the keynote, Steve Jobs said that this was one of the most requested features. As a novice editor myself, this will come in really handy for on the fly changing of clips that are too soft or too hot.

Highlights:

- 12 new effects to choose from with one click.  Jump cuts, slo-mo, instant replays, and lots of other beautiful effects to make amateur hour look like a pro hour.

- People Finder allows iMovie to detect how many people are in a scene, and really shows it's stuff when you are making Movie Trailers, since People Finder can help you choose the perfect scene for the storyboard layout.

- Sports and News Themes do some really great effects that can make your video look like a news or sportscast. Choose the theme, select the clips you want, and drop them into the project browser. Once there you can stylize it to add titles, logos, player photos, and stats to give it that extra polished look. 

Garage Band '11

http://www.apple.com/ilife/garageband/

Music creators rejoice. Garage Band '11 offers a new Flex Time and Groove Matching feature. Essentially it lets you fix timing problems, drag out notes in a riff a little longer, and keep perfect rhythm. The Groove Matching feature let's you bring all of your Apple loop tracks together, and it makes them sound good. You select a particular track and make that your 'groove track' and from there all of the other tracks instantly match it.  This has always been a problem for me. I can find several loops that I want to mix together, but getting the proper rhythm has been difficult for me since I am very musically challenged. 

Also building on the Garage Band lessons is a new 'How did I play?" mode. It let's you play along with the instructional tracks and then keeps track of accuracy, progress, and overall performance.  A pretty cool feature and perhaps just what the novice needs to build some musical confidence.

iDVD and iWeb

They are still technically in the suite, but viewing Apple's website, I couldn't find ANY new features in them. At least we still have them, as there are some die hard fans that have come to rely upon them.