Macworld San Francisco 2003 report
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Macworld Expo 2003

Apple Lives the iLife

By MIKE PASINI
Editor
Imaging Resource Digital Photography Newsletter

SAN FRANCISCO -- The snowball Apple started rolling two years ago with the introduction of the digital hub became an avalanche of new product introductions at Macworld Expo here today.

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Think Different? Look Deeper!
The registration line wound round the block

With nearly 90,000 attendees, Macworld Expo is Moscone Hall's largest show each year. But a month of traffic in Apple's 51 retail stores far surpasses that lofty number at 1.4 million.

Still, the show must go on. And for digital photographers it was quite a winter festival.

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The Inside Story

iLIFE

Fueled by the momentum of five million active users of OS X, Apple unveiled a revamped suite of applications that Apple's Steve Jobs dubbed iLife. The suite includes the already released iTunes 3, iPhoto 2 with image enhancement tools, iMovie 3 with a Ken Burns Effect and iDVD 3 with chapter support. Contrary to speculation, downloads of the first three are still free but you will be able to buy all four in a box for $49 on Jan. 25, when the updates are released.

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Retouching Freckles
The new retouching tool even defreckles

The updated iPhoto 2 includes:

  • A one-click photo enhance tool on the Edit panel that functions much like Auto Levels/Auto Color in Photoshop;
  • A retouch tool on the Edit panel for removing minor imperfections which works a little like Photoshop's Healing brush (if much more slowly);
  • Photo archiving to CD or DVD (although no one could demo it on the show floor); and
  • One-click emailing using Mail, Eudora, Entourage or AOL.

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The Ken Burns Effect
Pick the start, finish and set the duration

iMovie 3 adds some impressive features for photo shows, too:

  • A Ken Burns effect to animate still images;
  • Sound effects from Gary Rydstrom, director of creative operations at Skywalker Sound;
  • Video effects like aged film, letterbox and earthquake; and
  • Chapter markers for DVD navigation.

And iDVD 3 brings a few more features to the party:

  • Twenty-four new professionally designed menu themes;
  • Automatically created scene selection menus; and
  • Drop Zones to personalize themes

But -- as with any snowball -- the key advantage of iLife is its integration, rather than any particular feature set.

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iDVD & iPhoto
Integration equals productivity

For example, your iTunes library is easily accessible from iPhoto where you can associate any of the tunes with any album for slide shows. iMovie can easily add your iPhoto still images, which you can animate with the Ken Burns Effect. And there's no need to export iMovie projects so they can be burned in iDVD. With the new iMovie sound effects, plus the professionally designed themes for iDVD, Apple has brought a new level of polish to amateur DVD production.

"This is why we do what we do," Jobs said after showing a sample DVD that showed off the new professional production values. "You can make this stuff."

iLife apps will be bundled with new Macintosh computers. On Jan. 25, iPhoto 2 and iMovie 3 will be available as free downloads from Apple. And the boxed CD with a single installer for all four apps will be available at the Apple store, Apple retail outlets and Apple authorized resellers for $49.

NEW POWERBOOKS

The PowerBook line enjoyed some freshening up as well with two new model introductions.

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The 17-inch PowerBook G4
It's the iMac screen without the cantaloupe

The big news is the new $3,299 17-inch PowerBook G4.

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Wide

It includes the world's largest notebook screen at 1440x900 pixels (but is still just over an inch thick), FireWire 800 (twice as fast as current FireWire/IEEE-1394 implementations), 802.11g wireless networking (at 56-Mbs rather than the 11-Mbs of current 802.11b implementations), built-in Bluetooth -- and a backlit keyboard with ambient light sensors.

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The 12-inch PowerBook G4
Smallness without compromise

The little news is the smallest notebook Apple has ever introduced. The 12-inch PowerBook G4 has 1078x768-pixel resolution, an 867-MHz G4, built-in Bluetooth and a slot to support an 802.11g card. A combo DVD-ROM/CD-RW version will be available later this month for $1,799 while a SuperDrive version is available for $1,999.

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The Keys Illuminate
No more rubbing off the letters
  Thin
 

Both new PowerBooks have a lightweight aluminum alloy skin and are bundled with QuickBooks Pro. They both use a new latch that drops the screen behind the main deck and move connectors to the sides. Neither PowerBook will boot into OS 9, although OS 9 applications can still be run under Classic emulation of the OS.

MORE

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Less Is More, More Is More
Wait until you see the commercials

Apple also introduced Safari, their idea of a Web browser. The free 3-MB download features speeds up to three times faster than Explorer and easy-to-use features like built-in Google search, drag-and-drop bookmarks and SnapBack site navigation.

Attendees of the keynote address were rewarded with copies of another new OS X application which, it turns out, Jobs had been beta testing all last year. Keynote is a $99 PowerPoint killer, tapping into OS X's Quartz graphics engine to add transitions and effects unknown to slide presentations of the past. It was, Jobs said, "built for me."

Along with 12 professionally designed themes, Keynote imports and exports PowerPoint, PDF and QuickTime formats using an open file format itself to entice add-on development.

PAYOFF

Noting the speculation that this would be one of the least interesting keynotes in recent history, Jobs observed, "You can't believe everything you read."

But if seeing is believing (as we like to say around here), it appears Apple's investment in innovative software and hardware engineering is paying big dividends at a time when little else is.

ON THE FLOOR

On the show floor, Epson introduced its Stylus Photo 960 with direct CD printing and the 3200x6400 dpi, 48-bit, 3.4 Dmax, USB 2.0/FireWire Perfection 3200 scanner with transparency adapter in a $599 pro and $399 consumer configuration.

Extensis unveiled Portfolio 6 asset management software for OS X in both server and personal editions, as well as Mask Pro 3. Roxio provided a sneak preview of its Mac port of PhotoSuite to fix, print and display images. And Connectix showed Virtual PC 6, which is up to 25 percent faster than version 5 on OS X and can launch Windows apps from the dock.













Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate