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Affordable Upgrade, Mainly for iPhoto
on October 25, 2010
I have used the iLife Applications ever since I returned to Macs in 2003. I love the iLife applications, but is the iLife 11 update worth this purchase price?
While my purchase of a new Mac often coincides with a release of a new version of iLife, I now always have one or two older machines that need to be upgraded. It is not always fun to feel the need to purchase the upgrade to the latest version of iLife, but in the Mac universe, you often find you need to stay on top of releases to keep all your Apple products functioning, syncing, together, effectively. They all work together.
The primary application I use in iLIfe is iPhoto. I have tried the professional applications such as Aperture and Light room, I use them occasionally, but most of the time I prefer to keep my primary photo library in iPhoto. It's clean, simple, and easy to use.
This newest iPhoto has several new features. It's one of the most visually different looking releases for some time. Some have complained of their photo library not updating correctly, when installing this new release. I have thorough backups of my iPhoto library, so I took the plunge. Be sure you have a backup! Some have reported losing pictures.
However, I must say, I did not lose a single picture or movie during the update process. Hopefully the problems are rare.
Sadly, the iLife '11 applications have not been rewritten in 64-bit, so there is not the speed increase some other Apple products saw, when they switched.
The most significant change is iPhoto's encouragement to enter "full screen," mode. You can enter full screen mode to do anything now. Browse photos, edit, view, full screen mode can be used for anything. It does look gorgeous. You leave the operating system world, and enter a world devoted solely to iPhoto. It's very interesting, focuses you on your images, and works fantastic. However, the actual features in iPhoto '11 are not much richer than iPhoto '09. The features are found in a different way and have some more gloss on them, but there is not much new here. The professionally printed books, if you order one, are said to be higher quality when purchased from iLife '11. I have not tried this.
iMovie I use several times per year. I find it's great for creating a short, special film after an event or trip. Keep it short and simple, and it will look its best. iMovie '11 adds the ability to create Movie trailers using a wizard. You can then advertise your home movie to family and friends. It's easy and "cool," looking. Not much else can be said about it. The advanced audio editing will be the most welcomed feature of iMovie '11, as many complained about the lack of serious audio control in iMovie '09.
Garageband I plan to play around with more this release. I have a USB music keyboard, so I am going to try out the 20-odd included basic piano lessons. The professional artist lessons did not seem to catch on, so now generic lessons are included and for sale as add ons, to help one learn to play better. Nevertheless, it's questionable whether you actually learn music, or just wear to place your fingers. Of course, Garageband's long loved audio editing is once again back at its full greatness, and for many the primary use of this application.
iWeb and iDVD return, but there is even less new in them to talk about.
Overall, iLife 11 is another update to the iLife line. LIke OS X, the iLIfe suite was already quite mature. Therefore, the updates are beginning to seem less significant. I am normally excited about the new iLife releases, but honestly, I'm not necessarily going to be using any of the new features on a daily basis. I could have lived without this update for a while. I'm a bit underwhelmed.
Do note you must have OS X Snow Leopard and be on update 10.6.3 or later to use iLife '11.
Very recommended product when it comes on your new Mac. A bit annoying at this point to pay for this upgraded version, for very few additional features, perhaps the price should have only been $29 this time. Make the best decision for yourself, or wait until your next Mac that includes iLife '11. iLife '11 is a quality product, but the quantity of "new," here is smaller than in past updates.