iLife is the name of a group of software programs created by Apple to create and view digital content on your Apple Computer. Currently the group consists of 4 programs: iTunes 4 for music, iPhoto 2 for digital images, iMovie 3 for digital movie production, and iDVD 3 for DVD creation and burning. Apple's fascination with the letter 'i' is cute, but don't let the simple names discourage you from using these "killer apps" if you're a Mac user (some of them are soon to be ported to Windows).

Now, I just told you not to discount these software titles, why? Because they are all simple and elegant in their interfaces but powerful in their abilities. I've tried 3 of the 4 (I haven't tried iDVD, unlike the others it isn't available for download) of them and found them to be excellent.

iTunes handles MP3 music files effortlessly(it supports other formats as well). iTunes manages my 2 gigabytes of music with out skipping a beat, offering many ways to group my songs and play them. EQ settings can be changed on the fly allowing for crystal clear sound through a good set of speakers. Finally, iTunes 4 offers access to the new iTunes Music Store, which offers thousands of songs from hundreds of artists for just 99 cents, just a download away.

iPhoto is not one to disappoint either, a simple photo editor that lets you edit your digital photos quickly and easily. And once you're done, you can make a photo album for your pictures for easy display online or CD.

iMovie is an easy and powerful video editor that you can use with your digital video. Simply plug your camera in via Firewire and iMovie grabs your footage off of your camera in minutes and readies it for editing. iMovie lets you chop up your video, add effects, reorganize it and send it over to iDVD for burning. Put your clips together however you want. From small movie to large, iMovie can handle it.

All of these products are available separately through Apple's website, some for free, some not. You can also purchase all 4 of them together as iLife. However you do it, these are some killer apps.

iLife is the latest in a line of both hardware and software products which are part of a "digital lifestyle". After his arrival back at Apple, Steve Jobs began speaking of a person's Macintosh being the center, or hub, of their digital lifestyle. The original iMac was the first step in developing this lifestyle. It put a new face on not only the mac, but computing in general as PC companies began to change their form factor designs as well. The iMac became famous(some would say infamous) and turned Apple around.

The iMac's success? It's easy setup, small desk footprint, and maybe partially it's colors (although that's debatable. However this was just the first step in the digital lifestyle. The explosion of Firewire was to come.

Firewire, or IEEE 1394, was a simple and fast cable standard that was to allow devices made to be both PC and Mac compatible. Sort of a partnership between the 2 largest divisions in the "Computer" industry. It was a major success and fueled this overall digital lifestyle idea all the more.

From those 2 major innovations we move on to the present. Between now and then Apple released Mac OS X, which is beyond the scope of this writeup, and added more power to their hardware offerings. Now comes iLife. Over 2 years or so Apple has developed these 4 applications in what they finally announce is the digital lifestyle.

These products all work together. iTunes files can be added to iMovie's films, iPhoto can send images to iMovie, and iDVD can accept all this content and organize it and burn it out to DVD. It's a harmony of creating, viewing and distributing. Allowing you to leave your creative mark, etc. But most importantly for Apple it works out to healthy profits. Even if consumers don't buy iLife and choose to download the programs instead Apple can still use these programs as starting points to introduce concepts to users so that they will hopefully buy Apple's much more expensive high end sound and video software.


See Also:
Apple Computer

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