MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2010 (#44)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 113 of 147

112 MacDirectory REVIEW iMovie Speaking of burning bridges, in 2008 Apple tossed the fun, appealing, and exciting iMovie HD in favor of an entirely new creature that is less engaging, less adventurous, less friendly and visually cluttered. With a year on the books and the introduction of iMovie '09 a few of the fun things have returned and a few new things have been added, such as video stabilization, enhanced editing tools, animated maps, and new transitions and effects. As for the interface, the easy and intuitive slide table approach of years past has been replaced with what resembles a table filled with disordered strips of film. While the new approach may be great for intermediate users, iMovie 09 is no longer something that Justin Long can compare with Windows Live Movie Maker in the category of ease of use. The reader may prefer the new version, while others might wish to hang on to their copy of iMovie HD. Pages, iWeb and iDVD While iMovie may be the odd man out, it is easy to spot the family resemblance between Pages, iWeb and iDVD. They all feature a great selection of drag and drop templates that will get you up and running instantly. While they do not have the range of features that will please a working pro, they are ideal consumer applications and are highly recommended. iPhoto Over the past few years iPhoto has shifted from being a great consumer photo database with professional appeal to being a strictly consumer product. Such new features as facial recognition and GPS metadata are certainly appealing to the home user, as are some of the organization features. Unfortunately, the focus on events and the abandonment of certain other features sent left many pros scrambling for a less restricted environment. While iPhoto may be great for a large number of users, folks who have been slow to upgrade have discovered some alarming changes, such as the necessity of exporting older iPhoto libraries before trying to port them over to their new Macs and the unbelievably laborious process of importing albums when you no longer have your old OS installation. Garage Band Garage Band is a great consumer app that in the past has a certain appeal to pros on the road. In addition to loops, virtual instruments amp modeling and audio recording, it also supports many pro packages as well, such as drum samplers, sequencers, outboard DAWS, and virtual synths. As for new features, basic music lessons are now joined by a number of famous artists (available separately from the lessons store), the amp and effect modeling features have been expanded, and you can now set up a virtual backing band. On the other hand, its overly precocious interface favors pictures of amplifiers and clickable stomp boxes at the expense of control accessibility, and the quality of some of the guitar tones has been sacrificed in the process. While it may look somewhat like a kiddie toy, when it comes to getting your music onto disk, knocking out a quick sound track for a presentation or iMovie, or just having fun, it will get you up and running fast. An option to kill the cute pictures and gigantic control knobs in favor of a more efficient interface would have been a nice option. Numbers Apple's iWork spreadsheet app, Numbers, is everything that Excel is not. While it may not match every feature, it can open, edit and save .xls files and it is far easier and more intuitive than Excel and such simple, common sense features as fitting a photo into a cell make the competition seem truly archaic. Improvements in Numbers '09 include formula creation tools that are easy to understand and easy to use, advanced tools for creating and linking charts, and an inspiring selection of advanced templates, and impressive graphics tools that can transform a boring and incomprehensible Excel spreadsheet into a powerhouse presentation. Snow Leopard As advertised, Snow Leopard offers more new enhancements under the hood than on the dash and, while it may leave users of G5s and older Macs out in the cold, it is the best thing going in the world of Intel- based operating systems, despite advances with Windows 7. It is more swift and sleek, but it does not address a number of minor issues, such as sidebar replication, or such major issues as Spotlight content clutter, the awkwardness of searching specific volumes, and its inability to search servers. It is definitely a must-have upgrade but as the saying goes, the smoother the finish, the more painful the splinters. Conclusion Mac Box Set is a serious pile of software and is well worth the price. While not every component will appeal to every user, the best of them far outshine the less lustrous components. Some, such as Keynote, are justification alone for purchasing the entire suite. Users of earlier versions of iMovie and Garage Band might want to hide the originals and restore them after upgrading, but to be fair, there is not a lemon to be found in this collection. Product Mac Box Set Made by Apple Price $169 Pros Super value, excellent applications Cons Uneven offerings, occasional issues of form over function Rating ★★★★

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