Jobs: Picture this -- iPhoto

Apple CEO Steve Jobs updated Apple's vision of making Macs the "digital hub" for a modern lifestyle during his Macworld San Francisco keynote and introduced iPhoto.

iPhoto, a program for managing images from digital pictures, is the latest in Apple's line of "i" tools. It joins iTunes, iMovie, and iDVD. And it continues the "i" line's ease of use.

"Digital cameras are exploding and changing the way we take pictures," Jobs said.

Last year digital cameras comprised 30 percent of all cameras sold (excluding those one-time use, throwaway cameras). iPhoto is designed to simplify importing, editing, printing and managing of digital photos.

When you connect your camera to your Mac, archiving pictures happens automatically with iPhoto. The images are uploaded and organized by "roll" and archived together as thumbnail images laid out on a scrolling digital contact sheet. A slider on the side of the contact sheet lets you instantly enlarge and examine hundreds of pictures quickly.

"iPhoto has super easy and super precise cropping, Jobs said. A special print panel lets you choose printer, type of paper, and margins and iPhoto will take it from there. ColorSync, Apple's color management technology, is integrated into the new tool. Apple also helps store and organize photos (think "digital shoebox"), as well as share them. iPhoto, which has an iTune-like interface, has import, organize, edit, book and share buttons at the bottom of its screens.

The organize option lets you create photo "albums" via drag and drop, much as you create playlists with iTunes. The editing tools lets you crop simply by holding a button down and dragging and crop in various aspects ratios for different medium. You can also do other things such as make photos black and white. You can also customize iPhoto by making other apps, such as Photoshop, the default imaging application.

When it comes to sharing photos, you can create slideshows (using Open GL for cross dissolves) and apply your own "soundtrack." You can use them on your own Web page. You can do this now via iTools, but iPhoto does it all automatically and hosts the page on Apple servers.

As mentioned, you can print with a variety of options, including making contact sheets. And you can put together a 10-page photo album of your favorite photos via iPhoto's built-in page layout features. For US$30 (for the first 10 pages, $3 per page thereafter), you can have an online publisher print and mail you your own hardcover book of the pics in Kodak prints. Six book designs are available. Once you order a book, it takes about a week to arrive, Jobs said.

Or you can order individual prints in a variety of sizes. Heck, Apple has even taken the one-click shopping option from the Apple Store and implemented into iPhoto. The app is made possible by Mac OS X (it uses the Quartz engine), is free to Mac OS X users and is available for download today.

On a related note, Apple has sold over one million blank DVDs since introducing iDVD and the SuperDrive, the software-hardware combo for making "homemade" DVDs. And over eight million copies of iTunes have been distributed.

iPhoto completes the digital hub for the digital lifestyle, Jobs said.

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