Apple announced the next major release of iLife today, including a few welcome enhancements and a shift toward user interface elements that are very strongly influenced by iOS.
iPhoto was demonstrated first, and Phil Schiller was on stage to show of some of the new features, including a full screen interface that any iPhone or iPad user would recognize as using the same “tab bar” common to the iOS device family as well as iPad style photo albums:
Major new features include the ability to pull photos from Flickr, post photos to Facebook and see comments from friends, email photos directly from iPhoto, as well as new full screen faces and places views. Also added is the ability to make letterpress cards right from the application, no word yet on how much this costs.
iMovie was also demoed, this time by Randy Ubillos, Apple’s chief architect of video applications.
This time around, iMovie gains the ability to do audio editing right in the application, something that previous versions could not do with any real precision. Fans of the traditional timeline video editing format will be disappointed that Apple is still using the same pseudo-timeline format, however there is still plenty to love about the new version.
Live audio effects are now included, so you can apply audio effects to a clip and hear the results in realtime. Also making an appearance in iMovie ’11 are one-step video effects, which allow you to group changes together and apply them all at once, for instance during the demo an “instant replay” was applied in one click.
Also added is a new tool for creating movie “trailers”, which helps automate the process by asking for specific kinds of video footage, like closeups of specific characters. The new iMovie can do face detection like iPhoto as well.
Garage band was demonstrated by Xander Soren, with major new features including the ability to match the tempo of specific recordings (Apple calls it Groove Correction), FlexTime which allows you to make specific notes in a song longer or shorter, and a learning tool called “How did I play?”. New guitar and piano lessons were also added.
iLife ’11 is available now on every new Mac, but recent Mac buyers can upgrade for $6.99. For everyone else, it is available for $49 from the Apple Store.