Apple iLife '11: Everything you need to know

Summary:As predicted, Apple officially announced the new iLife '11 software suite, with notable upgrades for iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand.

As predicted, Apple officially announced the new iLife '11 software suite, with notable upgrades for iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand.

These three apps certainly got serious revamps, so let's go over each one in detail.

iPHOTO

As presented by Senior VP Phil Schiller, developers have honed in on slideshows. The most fascinating by far is the global map slideshow, which pinpoints your photos on places and then goes through them with listing the location during the presentation. This is already present to some extent in Flickr and other photo storage programs, but it's nice to see it added to iPhoto. (Speaking of Flickr, you can also pull photos directly from an account there as well.) Furthermore, users can share and e-mail photos directly from iPhoto without opening any other programs.

Apple knows that not everyone wants to reject printed photos altogether, so bookmaking has gotten touched up as well. While it's not entirely revolutionary compared to the last version of iPhoto (you could drag and drop photos there too), photo books are saved to shelves (à la iBooks). Apple has also taken paper 3D as well...sort of, with letterpress cards. How perfectly timed for the holidays.

Finally, similar to what Microsoft did with Contacts in Windows Phone 7, Apple has brought Facebook to iPhoto. Users can upload their photos to Facebook (same as before), but now you can check out all of the comments that people post about a particular photo directly from iPhoto.

iMOVIE

Like iPhoto, iMovie is also getting Facebook as well as Vimeo on the sidebar. Also like iPhoto, users will now be getting face detection - except this time with video, obviously.

Based on the keynote today, iMovie has been basically made into Final Cut Pro for dummies. Audio editing has been made easier with one-step effects and the ability to adjust just segments of sound.

That aforementioned face detection feature is part of a larger utility called Trailer Tool. Allowing for 24fps video, the Trailer option asks for specific types of clips (i.e. close-ups, landscapes, multiple characters, etc.). The user simply drops these clips into the box at the bottom of the screen, and Trailer Tool takes it from there.

Budding directors and video editors can also make movie credits simply by filling in a form, which will automatically be displayed at the end of your movie. Finally, you have some trailer music options to choose from, which are recordings of the London Symphony Orchestra.

GARAGEBAND

While it doesn't replace in-person music instructors and lessons altogether, the developers of GarageBand definitely stepped up guitar and piano instruction. Dubbed as "an automatic spellchecker for bad rhythm," the Groove Matching feature essentially fixes the audio emitted from individual instruments in case they are offbeat. Flex Time will aide that as this feature allows users to make notes shorter or longer.

Back to Lessons, this app goes fullscreen with recorded videos of an instructor. So if you can't afford real lessons (which do get very pricey when charged by the hour), this is a more budget-friendly option. Finally, there is a new function called, "How Did I Play?" that identifies onscreen which notes you hit and missed for both piano and guitar.

AVAILABILITY

iLife '11 is actually being made available today. It will be free with all new Macs sold or for $49 as an upgrade. If you've recently bought a Mac and you're now kicking yourself for not waiting, don't feel too bad as you can probably still upgrade for only $6.99.

CEO Steve Jobs said this was one of the best software deals in the world at the moment, and it's a bit hard to argue with him.

Related coverage on ZDNet:

Topics: Apple, Hardware

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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