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Apple iLife '
looks to have killed off all competition in Mac-based media software
for the mainstream market. Fortunately, the company's own media suite,
iLife '04, could be all that many users need - and then some more
Complain as we might
about the lack of competition in Mac-based media software, it can't
be denied that Apple's offerings are quite exciting. From very shaky
beginnings, iMovie has evolved into a very capable video editor, and
iDVD is probably the best DVD authoring tool at its market level. Last
year, Apple launched iLife. On the surface, iLife appeared to be a simple
bundle of Apple's basic media tools - iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto and iTunes
- but what really made it shine was the way in which each program inter-related,
allowing iTunes or iPhoto collections to be accessed directly from within
iMovie and iDVD. This was the first time we'd seen multimedia cross-referencing
implemented this comprehensively, and there's still nothing to compare
with it on the Windows platform.
iLife '04 features major upgrades of some applications, minor tweaks
with others, and a new family member, GarageBand. This is a rather capable
music recording and mixing application. The price for iLife remains
unchanged - at £39 - and a version of the suite (minus GarageBand)
comes free with every modern Mac, though Macs without DVD burners don't
come with iDVD. The suite we looked at comes on two discs - a DVD-ROM
featuring all the programs, and a CD-ROM with all programs except iDVD.
Installation was easy.
iLife is a good, comprehensive suite of media programs for the home
user. iMovie has improved greatly with this latest revision, and while
iDVD 4 shows only slight improvement, we still rate it very highly.
What excited us most, however, was GarageBand - a very well-featured
and intuitive beginner's music program with a lot of potential and an
approach that doesn't patronise the user in the way iMovie and iDVD
We're still going to continue grizzling about the lack of choice and
competition in Mac-based media software, but on the whole, Mac users
are well looked after by their keepers at Apple. iLife provides some
very able media tools which give home users a creative outlet as well
as the means to learn some serious production techniques along the way.
Read the full review
in June 2004's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in this issue:
Canopus Edius 2.0
Apple iLife ' 04
Buffalo WBS-G54A-CB1 & WLI-TX1-G54
this issue's news:
Pinnacle USB 2 trio
Portable analogue>DV converter
MainConcept budget editor
Free Adobe Live teach-in
VideoWave 7 Pro goes solo
Budget MPEG authoring
Panasonic set-top DVD recorders
LaCie disc duplicator
Casablanca comes into 21st Century
High-speed FireWire for laptops
Panasonic DVD cams
Canopus and Holdan get creative