Apple's excellent software package is a key justification for dropping a chunk of change on Mac hardware. And in his Macworld keynote today, Steve Jobs spent a fair amount of time describing software. In addition to a new Intel-native operating system and a handful of new widgets, every element of the iLife suite ($79; free on all new Macs) has been updated. Beyond the improvements to GarageBand that Jasmine France described in detail, here are some highlights:
iPhoto has been enhanced to handle up to 250,000 photos, and it allows full-screen editing and one-click effects. A new "photocasting," feature lets you add photos to a feed that (provided you have a .Mac account) is automatically pushed to subscribers (who don't need a .Mac account or even a Mac to view the feed). We also got a glimpse at some new photo print products, including cards, calendars, and higher-quality photo books.
iMovie upgrades include the option to export movies to the iPod or create video podcasts, and you can now open multiple iMovie projects at the same time. Apple's also added some animated themes, audio adjustment tools, and real-time effects.
With the new version of iDVD you can create wide-screen DVD menus; a Magic iDVD tool lets you quickly create DVDs by choosing a theme, then dragging and dropping movies or photos into the template. Plus, iDVD now supports third-party DVD burners--big news from the generally proprietary Apple.
iLife '06 also includes a brand-new program: iWeb provides templates for building your own Web site, complete with photo albums, blogs, podcasts, and iTunes playlists. Just drag and drop content and (again, if you have a .Mac account) push one button to publish to the Web.
Jobs also announced updated versions of Keynote and Pages as part of the $79 iWork '06 suite. Some new features include tools to make 3D charts, image reflections, and tables with calculations, as well as advanced image-editing tools. A 30-day free trial of the suite will ship with all new Macs.