Shop around before you buy Apple's iLife '09

Mark your calendar, fellow Macheads. Apple's iLife '09 will be released tomorrow.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

Mark your calendar, fellow Macheads. Apple's iLife '09 will be released tomorrow.

The upgrades to iLife, of course, was one of the big (YAWN!) announcements during this year's Macworld keynote speech. That's where Marketing VP Phil Schiller  - filling in for Steve Jobs - highlighted things like facial recognition technology in iPhoto, advanced drag-and-drop tools in iMovie and widgets in iWeb.

Hold on, though. Before you run out and drop $79 for an upgrade to the 2009 version of Mac's multimedia software package, do a little homework. There are a lot of choices out there these days and many of them have taken a few lessons from Apple when it comes to rich features.

For example, Google's Picasa photo software is now available for the Mac and includes things integration with a Web version of Picasa, as well as upload and sharing tools that link with older versions of iPhoto and photo albums on Facebook. It also has some basic editing tools and is doing some cool stuff with facial recognition, as well. And did I mention it's FREE?

In this case, my two cents is hardly worthy of being called a review. I haven't played with iLife '09, which gives me no right to praise it or bash it. But given what I saw demo'd at Macworld, the only thing that was ooh-aah about it was the new music lessons in Garage Band. After all, how cool is it to have Sting show you to play "Roxanne" or Jon Fogerty show you the basics of "Proud Mary?" But, alas, those lessons aren't "included" in the software. You gotta cough up an $5 each for those.

The newest version of iLife is pre-installed on new Macs and customers who purchased a Mac on or after January 6 are eligible for a free upgrade. iLife also comes in a five-license family pack for $99 and as part of a Mac Box Set, which also includes the Leopard OS and iWork '09, for $169.

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