“When Apple releases new products, they’re often hailed as breakthroughs,” Jefferson Graham reports for USA Today. “But with the recent update of its beloved iMovie software, Apple finds itself in an unusual position: defense. Longtime iMovie fans aren’t happy.”

“Apple isn’t apologizing. It says it wants a new audience for iMovie and that the redesign had to happen. ‘The consumer video-editing industry is dying,’ says Rob Schoeben, Apple’s vice president of applications and product marketing. ‘It got crushed by digital photography,'” Graham reports.

Graham reports, “Most camcorder owners never bother with video editing. Yet they will use software programs such as Apple’s iPhoto to manage their pictures and growing collection of video clips from still cameras, Schoeben says. Apple was forced to do a ‘radical reinvention’ of iMovie to get its users to work with their video clips, he says. Schoeben believes video novices will find it easier to edit with iMovie and, thus, use the program more. ‘This may be controversial at first, but long term … we’ll be fine.’

Graham reports, “Schoeben says iMovie has more advanced features than many on the message boards realize. Apple just hasn’t done a good enough job of letting people know about them, he says. More tutorials will be posted online like the ones at http://www.apple.com/ilife/tutorials/#imovie

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take by SteveJack: Longtime iMovie users aren’t happy, but average consumers should be ecstatic with the new iMovie ’08; it’s actually a triumph. Just so you know where I’m coming from, in addition to my brief bio below, I am a former 15+ year professional TV producer and video editor. Chances are good that you’ve seen something I’ve edited – most likely on a Mac-based Avid system costing over $100,000.

Schoeben’s right: people weren’t using iMovie because iMovie was too daunting (believe it or not). iMovie used to be and was designed to be a baby non-linear editor (NLE). I hated the thing personally and never used it, either. It was too “consumerish” in spots and too “pro” in others; in other words, a hodgepodge. I moved to Final Cut Pro long ago. What Apple has done with the new iMovie ’08 is what Apple typically does: shift the paradigm. In this case, they’ve done so radically and, in the process, revolutionized consumer editing. When all is said and done, iMovie ’08 will go down as an important transformative milestone in digital editing history.

Apple has shown the world the future and some people whine that they can’t sepia tone it.

It’s no surprise that longtime iMovie users are up in arms – hey, back in the TV stations and production houses where I worked, we used to complain when Avid moved one button or changed an icon with a new Media Composer version! We were used to the way things were, dammit, and didn’t want to change because it slowed us down – at first. With iMovie ’08, Apple has done more than move a button, they’ve blown up and the reassembled the entire app! They weren’t kidding with Think Different.

Longtime iMovie users will have to give the new iMovie a proper chance. I hope that with time, you’ll come to love it as I do. Some won’t and to those I say, it’s your loss. You are most likely already too advanced an editor for iMovie anyway (hint, hint: Final Cut Express – you’ll love it). New users or those that can adapt more quickly will find a fast, intuitive, easy-to-use video editing application in iMovie ’08.

iMovie was meant to be an editing application for beginning editors and camcorder users who wanted to quickly edit footage into shorter, more interesting finished products. iMovie ’08 finally achieves that vision.

Apple deserves credit for recognizing the problem and totally rethinking an application that relatively few of its target audience used. iMovie ’08 will bring video editing to many more people than previous versions, which was Apple’s goal all along.

While I’m disappointed that some iMovie users aren’t embracing change as readily as I believe Mac users should, I can empathize. You used to know how iMovie worked and now you don’t. The temptation to just give up and scream is very real, but change is hard and, in this case, it’s worth it. This whole brouhaha reminds me so much of the move from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X!

iMovie ’08 does need some more effects and a fuller feature set, but the foundation Apple has now laid is very, very strong and I fully expect iMovie to evolve and get even better over time. Start working with it now for simple projects, so you’ll be ready for the next version of iMovie. I doubt future iMovie changes will ever be so radical – Apple’s on the right track now – we’ll just get more features, refinements, and capabilities, but the basic premise of editing will be what iMovie ’08 has now established.

In the meantime, iMovie ’06 HD is there for the taking (and maybe Apple can rework it, rename it, and find a place for it in their lineup between iMovie and Final Cut Express where it belongs). I recommend that longtime iMovie users take advantage and use both applications, but give iMovie ’08 a real chance. Watch the tutorials (http://www.apple.com/ilife/tutorials/#imovie) and put in the time; I know it hurts, but “no pain, no gain!” Properly used, iMovie ’08 can create excellent quality product. With a little less knee-jerk and a little more exploration, I think you’ll find that iMovie ’08 is a revelation.

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.