Apple iLife '04 test and review from Computer Video Magazine

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Apple iLife ' 04

Apple 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 sometimes do.

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.

Peter Wells

Read the full review in June 2004's Computer Video magazine.

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Apple iLife ' 04
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Canon MV750I
Tiny Tornado

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VideoWave 7 Pro goes solo
Budget MPEG authoring
Panasonic set-top DVD recorders
LaCie disc duplicator
Casablanca comes into 21st Century
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