Thursday, August 9, 2007
I happened to have jumped on some very early copies of Apple's new upgrade apps of iLife and iWork. I have to say they are gorgeous. It's not my intent to review my own user experiences in detail with each one of them (had too short a time for any descent review) but rather comment about what I think Jobs' underlying intent behind those apps is.
First of all, iWork. Regardless the beautiful look and feel of those three apps (Numbers is unbelievable) I don't see why Apple keeps developing those apps. iWork is about work, not fun (not many around able to combine the two...). Content is important and MSFT's Office suite has got more than enough to meet most users' needs. Jobs said they sold about 1.8M copies of iWork... big deal! Sounds like breaking wind compared to Office. Anyways, as I said, the experience is fabulous but only few creative dudes may be interested in using the suite.
iLife on the contrary is phenomenal! The new iMovie is capable of turning the clumsiest moron into half a Spielberg. You can make wonderful clips in a matter of minutes. It's not Final Cut Pro by any means but the latter is only made for serious dudes. For the rest of us it's more than enough. You can publish the result to a large variety of formats for multi-purpose usage, one of which is 'direct posting on YouTube' (see clip posted here and compare it to the version posted in my gallery).
Similar kudos go to iPhoto as well. When I first heard El Jobso describe 'events' I thought "big deal... been there... done that...". Not true... it turns out to be an extremely helpful feature in the process of managing thousands of shots. These guys deserve the Nobel Prize of User Interface Design. iWeb has improved a lot too. I left iWeb two months ago to join Blogger instead but with their current features I might have never done that. I'm not going back to iWeb now though, despite. As a matter of curiosity you can take a look to see a refreshed version of that frozen site of mine here. Try the albums for fun... Priceless!
The nicest feature they added to their new offering though is Gallery. For those fortunate owners of iMac accounts Apple made it so simple to keep sync'd online albums of clips and shots that can be seen and shared. It actually works like a privately owned Flick'r, Vox and any similar Web 2.0 sharing initiative. Take a look at my test gallery that I set earlier today in a matter of minutes, from scratch. The best part of this is of course the ability to shoot a pic or a short clip with my cellphone (not an iPhone yet) and post them directly into one of my albums called N95 uploads
On the negative side, all these apps need a lot of CPU cycles; you need the latest and brightest of their hardware and hopefully the 64 bit Leopard that's around the corner will address much of this concern. Especially the edit adjustments within iPhoto are a dog... Apple seems to always have had this problem. It's about time the reverse engineer Adobe's Lightroom for a change. Apperture is also as bad...
Where does Apple think it wanna go with all this? I believe they want to make us run our (digital) lives outside the office as seemlessly as possible. They want to make disappear both time and space. When only yesterday seemed so hard to share records of moments in our life seems so trivial using a Mac. It's a dream come true of middleclass grandparents who can afford the goodies and happen to live quietly at long distance from their children and grandchildren.
My 2 cent worth...
Try 'skimming' over the album thumbnails and you'll see all photos contained in an album. It works like on the desktop but it is actually a web app. Wunderbar!