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Apple released iLife 11 earlier this year, which we’ve been taking for a test drive. The upgrade includes updates to iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand. There was no update to iWeb, which was somewhat disappointing, but rumors have it that iWeb may be phasing out entirely, or changing even more dramatically. I hope for the latter as I am an iWeb fan, but there are lots of features it lacks when compared with other web-based web-site builders, including integrated CSS and SEO tools. iDVD also did not get upgraded, but it’s a straightforward app that works well the way it is.
In iPhoto, the first thing I noticed is the layout change. The buttons all resemble the gray look you saw in the latest iTunes update, and many of them have changed or moved from their previous locations. (Instead of a “+” button to add an album or project, for example, there is simply a “Create” button. In the Edit view, the buttons have moved to a vertical sidebar instead of a toolbar on the bottom.) These things take a little getting used to after becoming acclimated to earlier versions. There are some neat things about the update: when you choose to email a photo, you now have an option to create a kind of stationery for the attachments; the downside: it only recognizes email addresses in your Address Book, not from memory of your Mail app’s previous recipients. It has its own mail server settings which could potentially complicate matters; this remains to be seen as a pro or con. The new letterpress cards are beautiful and quite impressive. No more trips to the card store! (Sorry, Hallmark.) Simply create your own using these gorgeous templates and your own photos and text. I didn’t notice any changes to any templates for books or calendars, however the interface is radically different with the familiar woodgrain backdrop similar to the iBookstore. It seems overly intensive graphically, but works fairly well.
Upgrade warning: If you upgrade to iLife 11, make sure you run all software updates after the installation before launching iPhoto for the first time. There is an update that corrected an initial bug that was breaking iPhoto libraries.
Do you need the upgrade? I’m going to say no, unless you have something earlier than iLife 08. The changes will be drastically different at that point, but minimal if upgrading from iLife 09. The most impressive new feature in this version of iPhoto is the letterpress cards.
The MacSpa