Apple's iLife suite integrates digital hub apps

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced updated versions of the company's lauded "iApps" (iPhoto 2, iMovie 3, iDVD 3) during his Macworld Conference & Expo keynote today. He also introduced a new solution that fully integrates the products.

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"We live in an age of digital devices," Jobs said. "So much of our lives -- such as music, photography, and movies -- are going digital ... We announced our digital hub strategy two years ago and delivered on it. Only Apple has created four key digital lifestyle applications. But we wrote the applications individually and they weren't totally integrated. But we're changing that today."

Apple is also bundling iTunes, iPhoto 2, iMovie 3, and iDVD 3 together in a new bundle called iLife that promises tighter than ever integration between all the solutions. It will be available January 25 for US$49. The first three will still be bundled with all new Macs and available for free download. But Jobs said that iDVD was simply too big for most users to download. The themes themselves were huge, he added.

"iLife does for our digital lifestyle what Microsoft Office did for office productivity -- all the applications you need are in one box, and they all work together," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Apple is far ahead of its PC competitors in offering the best-in-class applications for digital music, photography, moviemaking and DVD creation, and now they all work together seamlessly."

iLife includes incredible new versions of iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD with several new features, all integrated. For example, users can now select music from their iTunes library to use in their iPhoto slideshows, movies or DVD menus from directly within iPhoto 2, iMovie 3 or iDVD 3 -- without interrupting the creative process by having to switch back and forth between applications, according to Jobs.

iPhoto 2 now includes one-click photo Enhance, which can improve less-than-perfect pictures; a new Retouch tool for removing scratches, hair, lens dirt, etc.; photo archiving to a CD or DVD to preserve and share your iPhoto library; and the ability to e-mail photos with one click using Mac OS X Mail, Eudora, Entourage, and AOL.

iMovie 3 features pro-quality special effects, including the new "Ken Burns" effect for adding motion to still photos; new audio editing tools and sound effects from Skywalker Sound's seven-time Academy Award winner Gary Rydstrom; special video effects such as Aged Film, Letterbox and Earthquake; and the ability to add chapter markers to movies for DVD navigation and scene selection.

iDVD 3 includes 24 new pro-quality, Apple-designed, customizable DVD menu themes; automatically created DVD scene selection menus from iMovie chapter markers; and the ability to personalize iDVD 3 themes with personal photos, music and movies using iDVD Drop Zones.

Unlike when Jobs mentioned the subscription .Mac service, there was no negative crowd reaction to iLife. Instead, there was applause and cheers from the capacity crowd at the keynote.

"We're so far ahead of anybody, it's not funny," Jobs said.

Apple is also lowering the price of blank DVD discs to $3 each. And Jobs predicted the price would hit a $1 per disc within 24 months.

This story, "Apple's iLife suite integrates digital hub apps" was originally published by PCWorld.

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