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The Nines – iLife and iWork

I’ve been using iWork ’09 for the past couple of weeks and iLife ’09 for the past couple of days. Here are my first impressions on the two suites. Keep in mind that I have used every version of both programs since their beginnings. (And these are not exhaustive reviews.)


iWork ’09 adds some nice features in this iteration. It includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, the Apple counterparts to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. The Apple suite still doesn’t have the depth of features that the Microsoft offering does…but who cares? Not me.

The basics of each program remain unchanged. Pages still is basic word processing and page layout with a Mac feel. Numbers still does its spreadsheet thing. And Keynote still outclasses PP with its cool transitions.

I work on a Powerbook G4, which Apple recently reclassified as obsolete, so performance for me is sluggish in every application.

But what’s great and new that would make you want to upgrade if you already have an earlier version of iWork? I’ll take it one app at a time…

Pages – For me the biggest addition is Outlining. I usually use OmniOutliner Professional for my outlining needs, and I’ll may continue to do so. But it’s nice to have it in Pages.

The other two big features – being able to view your document in full screen view and being able to use iWork.com – are irrelevant to me. Additionally, there are several new templates that are pretty cool, but I don’t know if I’ll ever use them.

Numbers – There are a couple of nice changes here. The ability for categorization – actually, a second-level sort – is nice. Numbers also adds a quick view of all the formulas you are using in your worksheet.

Keynote – The star of iWork is Keynote. The incremental changes in this version of Keynote are apparent right from the beginning, in the theme chooser, where a mouse-over of a theme shows you the different options available within the theme.

I like the new Keynote, but my biggest frustration with the entire suite comes here. They took out a feature, one I actually used! The feature is Webview. It allowed you to insert a live web page into your presentation. And they took it out….aargh.

They did put a few new transitions and effects in, though. That’s good. And they upgraded the presenter’s view to give you more control. Very nice.

The best thing, however, is the integration between the three apps and the ability for a Numbers chart to be updated with a Keynote presentation or a Pages document.

I purchased the iWork ’09 Family Pack, since I have several computers to upgrade. (The link takes you to Amazon, where you can get it for $10 less than from Apple.)


iLife ’09 was the more anticipated of the two suites. It contains Garageband, iMovie, iWeb, iDVD, and iPhoto. And I’ll just tell you right up front…it rocks.

The bad – I can’t use the new iMovie on my computer. Of course, I couldn’t use iMovie ’08 either. My Powerbook just doesn’t have the horsepower. But that was okay with ’08, because a lot of people stayed with ’06, so much did they hate the new ’08 interface.

That won’t be the case with ’09. I have used it on the church’s 24-inch iMac, and it is much nicer than ’08. iMovie now includes a Precision Editor that makes editing much better. It also has a stabilization feature which – although it takes a long time, even on a 3.06ghz iMac – will be very useful.

There are also some added transitions, themes and effects that will dress up your vidoes. Spiffy.

iDVD – well, it is what it is. Unchanged. I didn’t even see any new themes.

Garageband – although some learning abilities have been added, functionally nothing else has changed for ’09. Cosmetically, the look has changed, to a nicer, darker feel. Not important, but nice.

iWeb – probably the biggest thing here is the ability to publish to your own domain. There are some nice little bits of this and that, but nothing else substantial has changed for my use.

iPhoto – THE app. The new Faces feature alone could sell this entire suite by itself. If you don’t know, Faces allows you to tag your pictures with the names of people in the picture. Faces will then search your library for similiar faces and let you tag them. This makes organizing and searching your photo library very easy. And fun.

Places allows you to add location information to your photos. This lets you organize your photos by the places you’ve been. Very nice.

I would highly recommend iLife ’09 Family Pack. (Again, this link let’s you get it from Amazon for $10 less.)