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Apple unveils new iMacs, updated apps

CEO Steve Jobs announces new 20-inch and 24-inch all-in-one iMacs, updated versions of iLife and the iWork productivity suite at event Tuesday.

Editor's note: This is a blog that was posted live from Tuesday's Apple event. For a complete article with more information about the products announced today, click here.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced two new iMacs at the start of an event held Tuesday at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

The 20-inch and 24-inch iMacs are the latest editions of Apple's all-in-one iMac design. They are made from aluminum and glass, and come with a new keyboard. Both the new keyboard and the iMac itself are thinner than the previous edition.

Three new iMacs will be available immediately--two 20-inch models and one 24-inch model. The base 20-inch version will cost $1,199, and a more powerful 20-inch model will cost $1,499. The 24-inch model will cost $1,799, $200 less than the current 24-inch iMac.

New iMac
Side view of Apple's new iMac and its accompanying metallic keyboard. Apple

But there's more to come. Stay tuned; Jobs is just getting warmed up and he's starting to talk about applications.

Update at 10:35 a.m.: Apple's second announcement involved iLife, the company's suite of multimedia applications. Apple is skipping right over iLife '07 to release iLife '08, Jobs said, calling the latest version "the biggest jump in iLife since we introduced it."

Jobs first walked attendees through iPhoto, the picture management application. The primary enhancement to iPhoto '08 is a new feature that sorts by events--it automatically sorts photos by date and can preview the photos in an event without opening the folder. Events can be "merged" or "split" as needed.

The new iPhoto '08 is designed to work alongside some new .Mac services also unveiled Tuesday. The .Mac Web Gallery can take photos directly from iPhoto and publish them to a Web page. It also syncs up with the iPhone so iPhone users can share their galleries or individual photos.

The Web gallery also incorporates the skimming feature from iPhoto '08, letting users preview photos in a given event or album without having to open the entire gallery.

Update at 10:53 a.m.: Apple will be releasing a completely new version of the iMovie application with the new iLife suite. Jobs said the new software came out of an Apple engineer's realization that he couldn't make a short 5-minute movie in less than half an hour using either iMovie or Final Cut Pro, Apple's high-end video editing application.

The new iMovie allows you to drag and drop movie clips from your library of videos into a new movie template. You can pick how long each individual clip will run, set transitions between scenes and upload those videos to your iTunes, the new .Mac Video Gallery or YouTube right from the menu selections.

iMac ports
These nine ports--audio, USB, FireWire, Ethernet and video--are on the back of the iMac's monitor (on the lower right corner if you're facing the screen). Apple

Jobs created a very short movie in just a few minutes--of course, he probably practiced first--in a demonstration for attendees. The application can process high-definition video from multiple sources.

Update at 11:13 a.m.: Jobs unveiled new editions of iWeb, iDVD and GarageBand, the remainder of the iLife suite. The iWeb and iDVD applications received minor updates, but one interesting one involved allowing iWeb users to sign up for Google's AdSense program in the Web site creation process.

Jobs also demonstrated a new feature in GarageBand called Magic GarageBand, which essentially lets you create a backing band for your own performance. There are several different themes, such as rock, blues, jazz and latin.

But Jobs then plunged into the new version of iWork, Apple's productivity suite. Keynote, the presentation application, comes with several new themes and better support for manipulating photos to serve as background for a slide. Pages, the word processing application, also received updated templates.

But the big part of the new iWork suite is a spreadsheet application called Numbers. Numbers is designed to work with Keynote and Pages, allowing people to drop in pictures, graphs and photos alongside spreadsheet tables. You can also import and export with Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet.

iWork '08 costs $79 and is available today.