Phil Schiller might not be wearing a black turtle neck but he’s still got some goods to dish this morning at the Macorld keynote. To kick things off, Schiller introduced a new version of iLife – iLife ’09. He showed off a newly updated version of iPhoto, featuring new “Faces” technology that will organize your photos of people, by name, using facial recognition! Select a photo and name a person once, then Faces will identify that person each time you add a new photo of him or her. Then there’s “Places”, which sorts photos according to where they were taken according to geotags. The UI features a map (street or satellite views) with pins representing the location of each photo in an album. Don’t worry if your camera doesn’t support geotagging of course, as you’ll be able to add locations manually within the UI.
iPhoto ’09 also has built in support for album syncing with both Facebook and Flickr. In fact, if people tag photos you upload in Facebook, that data will be synced back to your Mac so the info can be viewed locally! Very smooth Apple, very smooth. Other new features include themes, which allow you to add visual themes to slide shows that include backgrounds and even custom transitions. Slide shows can also be added to iTunes and synced to your iPhone or iPod. Another interesting addition is Travel Books, which allow you to create a cool-looking scrap book out of a series of photos.
Next up is iMovie ’09 which definitely offers some cool new features. Image stabilization for one – because not everyone has Hollywood-worthy filming skills. There is also a new precision editor interface, a bunch of cool video effects and a user friendly drag and drop update that allows you to simply drop a clip on a specific point and have the video inserted instantly. Apple also added video themes with some very nifty 3D effects that will be very fun to play with. The new ’09 version of iMovie is definitely more advanced than the ’08 version but it also seems well-designed to the point where even novice users will be able to take full advantage of its functionality.
Now we come to GarageBand ’09 – with a noteworthy new feature called “Learn to Play”. Think of it as a private music instructor that provides personal lessons, at your pace, in an effort to teach you how to play your instrument of choice. Did they include the bassoon in there? There is also an “Artist Lessons” feature which showcases various artists, such as John Fogerty and Sting, who help teach you how to play their songs.
The complete package will still ship for free on new Macs starting in late January and an upgrade can be purchased by existing customers for $79, or $99 for an upgrade good on five computers. Nice start Apple, we definitely didn’t see that one coming. Let’s see what Cupertino has lined up next…