GarageBand update; "Learn to Play" workaround for PowerPC Macs

The new "Learn to Play" downloadable lessons in GarageBand are only supported by Apple on Intel-based Macs. When PowerPC users go to the lessons or the lesson store, they are presented with a message that states an intel-mac is required. Despite this, non

Apple has released a minor update to GarageBand '09 (version 5.0.1), which addresses problems users were having with the "Learn to Play" features. The description for the update reads as follows:

"This update improves overall stability and addresses specific issues with downloading lessons from the Learn to Play Lesson Store. It is recommended for all GarageBand ?09 users."

The update is available as a standalone update.

Using "Learn to Play" on PowerPC Macs

The new "Learn to Play" downloadable lessons in GarageBand are only supported by Apple on Intel-based Macs. When PowerPC users go to the lessons or the lesson store, they are presented with a message that states an intel-mac is required. Despite this, non-intel users can get lessons to run.

The lessons are located in this directory:

/Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/GarageBand/Learn To Play/

Users on PowerPC Macs should be able to open the lesson files directly by double-clicking them, and they should play normally. It appears that the lessons run fine when users do this, though some with older PowerPC computers have noted the need to free up as much RAM and other resources as possible to ensure smooth play.

In order to get new lessons, Apple's built-in store accesses the web at the following URL:

http://store.apple.com/us/lessons/home

By navigating to the aforementioned URL, users can access the available free downloads. To do this, open the URL in Safari and click the "Basic Lessons" button. Then select the desired free lesson and GarageBand should open. A message will prompt for download confirmation, and the download should start. Users will not see a progress bar or other indication of the download, but it should happen as long as GarageBand is open. Check Activity Monitor's network section to see that the download is actually going.

Unfortunately, lessons for purchase will require the GarageBand interface, so for now the purchasing is restricted to Intel users; however, if PowerPC users have access to an intel mac, they should be able to download the files to it and transfer them to the PowerPC machine.

Because Apple does not officially support lessons on PowerPC Macs, users may run into unexpected troubles. Please let us know if any problems are encountered running lessons on PowerPC macs.

It appears many of the iLife restrictions are not so much based around code that's specific for one platform or another, but rather an effort on Apple's part to ensure the applications run at a usable speed. Several users have hacked iMovie 09 to run on PowerPC G4 Macs. The program runs perfectly fine, albeit slowly, and it appears the only reason for the restriction is to ensure the program performs well for users. While for now the intel-only programs and features can be enabled to run on PowerPC macs, it should be expected that sooner or later the underlying code will change enough to not run properly, even if the initial platform detection can be bypassed.

Resources
  • standalone update
  • http://store.apple.com/us/...
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