CNET reviews Apple iLife ‘11: 4.5 out of 5 stars; easily recommended

Apple Store“iLife ’11 is a welcome, and long-overdue update to Apple’s suite of digital media applications. This year’s version adds a handful of advanced features to iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand without making them more difficult to use,” Josh Lowensohn reports for CNET. “It’s a shame iDVD and iWeb did not receive updates with this year’s version, but with a slightly lower price for upgraders than in years past, iLife 11 still represents a good value to consumers looking for a set of tools for editing and sharing media. At $49, and close to two years since the last major update, we can easily recommend picking up this up.”

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Lowensohn reports, “Though this iteration of iLife may not have the flash of some previous releases, it brings each of the updated applications closer to professional-grade software-editing tools without making them unnecessarily complicated. If you’re a frequent iPhoto user who does a lot of sharing, the updated Facebook and e-mail enhancements are must-haves; with iMovie’s new movie trailer feature, you can turn scattered bits of vacation footage into something truly compelling that friends and family will want to watch. GarageBand’s updates also bring a number of pro quality features to the table, while offering people who have little to no musical training easier ways to learn how to play.”

Read the full review, which includes a video review, here.

54 Comments

  1. CNET thinks this is “closer to professional-grade editing software”? This is entry-level consumer software! Though, of excellent quality for that. When iMovie was moving too close to Final Cut, Apple cut its legs out from under it and re-established it in the “easy-to-use” bracket.
    Apple HAS “Professional-grade” software for editing movies and music. iLife is the version for the rest of us. Sure … you COULD do “professional” work with it – and people HAVE – it’s just a little more complicated.

  2. CNET thinks this is “closer to professional-grade editing software”? This is entry-level consumer software! Though, of excellent quality for that. When iMovie was moving too close to Final Cut, Apple cut its legs out from under it and re-established it in the “easy-to-use” bracket.
    Apple HAS “Professional-grade” software for editing movies and music. iLife is the version for the rest of us. Sure … you COULD do “professional” work with it – and people HAVE – it’s just a little more complicated.

  3. @DLMeyer,

    Well put sir!

    It’s funny because I’ve worked with Premiere, Avid and Final Cut along with a host of other video editing apps (including some proprietary ones), and iMovie just confuses the hell out of me. I know it’s easy. I’ve often told friends and family to use it and they do so without even coming back to me with questions, but I just look at it and thinks it’s far more complicated than the pro stuff like Final Cut Studio.

  4. @DLMeyer,

    Well put sir!

    It’s funny because I’ve worked with Premiere, Avid and Final Cut along with a host of other video editing apps (including some proprietary ones), and iMovie just confuses the hell out of me. I know it’s easy. I’ve often told friends and family to use it and they do so without even coming back to me with questions, but I just look at it and thinks it’s far more complicated than the pro stuff like Final Cut Studio.

  5. @macslut

    As someone who stated using iMovie in 1.0 and quickly took up with Final Cut, I agree! I tried to use iMovie recently while helping someone new to Desktop video. The last iMovie I used was 3.0 or 4.0. I could barely make heads or tails of iMovie ’09.

  6. @macslut

    As someone who stated using iMovie in 1.0 and quickly took up with Final Cut, I agree! I tried to use iMovie recently while helping someone new to Desktop video. The last iMovie I used was 3.0 or 4.0. I could barely make heads or tails of iMovie ’09.

  7. I found I had the same problem using iMovie after learning FCE. But as others say, folks who are new to video production pick up the editing in an instant. It is fascinating how previously learned skills can block “seeing” what is obvious to those without the skills.

  8. I found I had the same problem using iMovie after learning FCE. But as others say, folks who are new to video production pick up the editing in an instant. It is fascinating how previously learned skills can block “seeing” what is obvious to those without the skills.

  9. The feature set of iMovie 11 is really difficult to compare to, for example, FCE. The ability to more precisely manipulate audio is a great addition that moved iMovie closer to the ‘pro’ (and semi-pro) apps. However, there are things that simply don’t belong into (semi)pro tools, and which are the reason why iMovie is so easy to pick up and quickly use by those with ‘unpolluted’ mind. Every single person who tried iMovie (08-11) without previously experiencing other, conventional NLEs found it extremely easy. As a matter of fact, two people I know had tried iMovie HD (v.6), but much preferred ’08 (v.7), let alone ’09 or now ’11. There must be something there that works better on an intuitive level.

    I must admit, though, the ‘Trailer’ feature is simply a riot. I can’t remember last time I had so much fun playing with home video clips.

  10. The feature set of iMovie 11 is really difficult to compare to, for example, FCE. The ability to more precisely manipulate audio is a great addition that moved iMovie closer to the ‘pro’ (and semi-pro) apps. However, there are things that simply don’t belong into (semi)pro tools, and which are the reason why iMovie is so easy to pick up and quickly use by those with ‘unpolluted’ mind. Every single person who tried iMovie (08-11) without previously experiencing other, conventional NLEs found it extremely easy. As a matter of fact, two people I know had tried iMovie HD (v.6), but much preferred ’08 (v.7), let alone ’09 or now ’11. There must be something there that works better on an intuitive level.

    I must admit, though, the ‘Trailer’ feature is simply a riot. I can’t remember last time I had so much fun playing with home video clips.

  11. Anyone try iPhoto yet? I find it considerably less convenient than the prior versions – too many levels of functions (things that could previously be referenced all at once or by a single click now require additional menu navigation), and the only added value I’ve seen so far is slightly more convenient sharing. And in some ways that’s worse, too – emailing now forces you to put your photos into email ‘projects’ – I haven’t found a way to just send a few pictures within an email like before.

    And it’s a lot buggier – crashes and freezes, particularly when trying to make ‘projects’.

    Call me a whiner, because that’s what it sounds like, but so far I’ve been really put off by it. I don’t need Aperture – I just want convenient consumer use and this has been a step backwards.

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