Keynote: Apple's new presentation application

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced Keynote, a new Apple presentation application, during his Macworld Conference & Expo keynote today. He described it as a "presentation application for when your presentation really counts."

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"Keynote was built for me," Jobs said to loud applause and laughter from the crowd. "I needed an application that could build the kind of slideshows I wanted for my own keynotes.

Keynote, which is very graphics intensive, is that product, he added. It's been tested by a "low paid beta tester" (an iMac) for the past year, he joked. The CEO revealed that Keynote had powered all his Macworld keynotes in 2002.

Keynote includes professionally designed themes, typography, pro-quality image resizing, animated charts and tables that can be created in seconds, and cinematic-quality transitions, according to Jobs. Available immediately for US$99, Keynote imports and exports PowerPoint, QuickTime, and PDF files.

Keynote includes 12 Apple-designed themes featuring coordinated backgrounds, fonts, colors, bullets, tables and charts. Users can change the theme of their presentation any number of times, modify an existing theme to their liking, or create custom themes to give their presentations a totally unique look.

Keynote takes advantage of Mac OS X's Quartz graphics technology, as well as OpenGL, to create presentations with pro-quality graphic elements such as fully anti-aliased text, transparency, dynamic drop shadows and cinematic-quality transitions between slides. Users can drag-and-drop graphics, digital photos, QuickTime movies and audio into their slides. Keynote's alignment guides and rulers ensure that all text and graphic elements are placed precisely where users want them, Jobs explained.

Users can choose from eight flexible chart types, progressively disclose chart and table information, and create animations, shadows and labels on any chart or table. Chart and table data can be imported from applications such as Excel and AppleWorks or organized directly in Keynote's Chart Data Editor.

For large slide shows, Keynote's Navigator offers a quick visual overview of the whole slideshow at all times. Slide thumbnails can be grouped into sections that can be collapsed or expanded. For text-oriented presentations, Keynote provides a text outline view and speaker's notes.

"Once you use this, you'll never go back," he added.

Keynote requires Mac OS X 10.2 ("Jaguar"). It will cost US$99 and is available today.

This story, "Keynote: Apple's new presentation application" was originally published by PCWorld.

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