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iLife, is it all worth it?

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Apple recently introduced a new suite of programs for 2004. While much of what is included is just updates of already available software (iTunes, iDVD, iPhoto and iMovie), there is one bit of new kit inside, Garageband. Now Apple has touted this as something that will turn everyone into a musician. They have even inlisted Sheryl Crow and some prat from MTV to sing its praises. In practice its a frustrating and counter-intuitive piece of kit which does not let itself to tinkering. One could argue this is a good thing considering all those people who have used iMovie and iDvD to foist crap family movies on an unsuspecting world. Apple, was quite fortunate however as soon after the suite’s release, Howard Dean made his famous screech, provoking hundreds of clever clots to try their hand at “re-mixes”. I am supposed to get a copy of Jam Pack which adds more to Garageband to review. This costs an addition $99, over and above the price of iLife. Overall purchasing iLife is an easy way to update the i-family of software short of purchasing a new machine. Those who don’t use all these programs but are tempted by Garageband might be wise to try it on someone else’s Mac first. Of course, on the plus side, iLife is easy to install and works well together. A must for home photo, movie and dvd tinkerers, but users of iTunes have little need for this suite of software.

Rating: 3.5

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About Marty Dodge

  • I don’t have iLife because I don’t have a G4, and continue to use the older versions of iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto and iLikeIke. However, given that the bundle is cheaper than any single third party application (for example Soundjam which was the precursor to iTunes), then this carping about the price is silly. Each of the apps is worth the price, so to get them as a bundle is a tremendous bargain.

    If you think Garageband isn’t worth the price, try buying Cubase, Logic or Protools, each of which will be much more complicated to use and many times more expensive.

  • iTunes is still a free download, so you don’t need to purchase iLife in order to get the most recent version.

    I don’t know of any similar PC programs that cost so little and work so well. A simple photo editing program from Microsoft will cost as much as the entire iLife package. Besides, the software comes bundled free with all new Apple computers, and upgrades are generally free or at a reduced price.

    I think that Apple’s plan is to keep the program’s integrated, for better performance. An iDVD user is likely to have first used iMovie to create the film to be burned, and Garageband is a great way to add original music to the images. Bundling the software makes sure that each component stays current.

    I haven’t used Garageband, but those that I’ve spoken to who have say it is a lot of fun, and relatively easy to figure out. Websites, such as MacJams are springing up, for people to share their musical creations. Similar sequencing or looping software costs more than the entire iLife bundle, so it seems like a bargain to me.

    Nobody has to use any of this stuff, but the price is quite reasonable, and the results are very good for your average person, who isn’t a professional filmmaker, musician or photographer.

  • Tom

    I bought the pack with my educatoin discount. It was only $29. I think its rediculous to be required to purchase (it comes with a new computer) this program if all you need is iPhoto or iTunes.

    I don’t use Garage band, or iMove or iDvd. You should be able to buy the stuff Al La Carte.