iLife and iWorks: The cool stuff

I’ve just got back from a briefing on the latest Apple software, and it blew my mind. I’m normally all about the peripherals porn, but today, I got converted by some hardcore software. Yum.

I’ll be doing a full on review after I’ve had a couple of days to create my movies, presentations and photo books, but in the meantime, here are a few awesome things that had me drooling this morning:


– You’ve probably heard that there’s facial recognition in iPhoto 09, which will identify and file all the pictures of any person you initially identify. If you’re upgrading from 08 to 09, it’ll automatically scan all your existing photos for faces.

– But did you know it will automatically tag all the photos in Facebook, if you hit the new ‘send album to Facebook’ button? You just have to make sure that when you’ve ID’d the faces, you add in their Facebook name. That will save most of us about seven days a year, which can be much better spent on Facebook stalking.
– You should know, this face detection won’t work on dogs. And it might not work on people wearing hats. At the time of press, emo haircuts were unconfirmed.
– But in better news, if someone tags a photo you sent to Facebook but didn’t know who it was, that will be replicated in your iPhoto albums.
– Apple are obsessed with location, which is evident in iPhoto. If you take a picture with a camera with GPS or a cameraphone, it’ll store that in iPhoto, and you’ll be able to view a Google Map with pins dropped where you have photos taken. All within iPhoto
– Apple also has a database of Points of Interest, so will autotag places they think you’re visiting, such as the Eiffel Tower or the London Eye.
– The new photo manipulation stuff works really well. Auto enhance will make the most of your photo, and the slider scale popup will reflect that, so you can use it as a bit of a learning tool on how to improve your photos manually.
– Retouch now has edge detection, so rather than blurring out any blemishes or marks, the programme will guess at what should be there instead.
– The slideshows you can make can now be set to specially licensed music – we heard Toy Story, Snoopy and Miles Davis. Once you’ve created these slideshows, you can now export them to your iPhone, as a Quicktime file, upload to YouTube etc.

Auto stabilisation will do exactly that – no more shaky cams.
Editing to the music is cool. You pick a song, pick your clips, and iMovie will automatically make the transition in time with the beat. You can also do this with still images, since these are accessible in iMovie as well.

Garage Band
– You can learn to play either the guitar or the piano, taking lessons from the likes of Sting, Norah Jones and Fallout Boy.


Keynote (the Powerpoint alternative)
Magic Move will identify any common graphics between two slides and automatically add fancy motion transitions so switching between the two becomes waaaay cooler.
– One of the things you can do with Text Transitions is anagrams, so if you’re switching between two titles, it’ll automatically identify common letters and switch them, filling in the blanks in the process. At this point your presentation will look exactly like a Steve Jobs keynote.
– There’s now a Keynote Remote application, which works in the same way the existing iTunes Remote does. On your iPod Touch/iPhone screen the top half has a miniature of the current slide, whilst underneath you get your speakers notes.

Pages (the Word alternative)
– There’s now the option to have the document appear as a full page. This will make everything else on your desktop disappear, which isn’t the norm on the Mac. If you hover your mouse at the top, the formatting tools will appear, but other than that, it’s just you and the page.
– This is currently free and in public beta. It basically means anyone with a copy of iWork 09 can send a link to a colleague, who will then be able to see a copy of the document, spreadsheet or presentation online. From there, they’ll be able to make comments, engage in a chat in a sidebar, or download it themselves. It’s fairly amazing stuff.

All new Macbooks will ship with iLife, although you can buy it separately for £69. iWork is also £69. For Leopard, iWork and iLife, it’s £149.

Apple Store

Susi Weaser