Consumer News

By Matthew Rothenberg  |  Posted 2004-01-06 Print this article Print

On other consumer fronts, Jobs unveiled iLife 04, a $49 version of Apples consumer software suite, which he presented as "Microsoft Office for the rest of your life." The updated package includes an enhanced version of the companys online iTunes service; an update to its iPhoto application that supports 25,000 photos, lets users organize photos by date and allows them to swap photos via Apples wireless Rendezvous technology; Version 4.0 of iMovie, which lets users trim clips directly within the timeline, features new titling options, lets users add clips via Apples iSight videoconferencing camera and simplifies sharing of movies via the companys .Mac online service; Version 4.0 iDVD with new themes, enhanced slideshows and menus, encoding from Final Cut Pro, and support for two hours of content per industry-standard DVD. In addition, iLife 4.0 features a new application: GarageBand, a consumer music-production tool. The application lets users digitally mix up to 64 tracks, play more than 50 software instruments via any USB or MIDI keyboard, use more than 1,000 professional loops included with the package, apply audio effects, and play a guitar via vintage or modern amplifier settings. Users can easily transfer their finished mixes to their iPod MP3 players. Jobs said more than half of American homes feature a current musician, so the new package taps a huge potential market.
iLife 04 is slated to ship Jan. 16 and will be free with all new Macs. Apple will also sell a set of additional effects and a $99 MIDI keyboard.
iTunes is now the largest online music store in the world, Jobs said, with more than 500,000 songs. He announced a joint promotion with Pepsi in which buyers of the latters soft drinks can win 99-cent credits for free music downloads. Jobs kicked off his presentation by hailing the 20th anniversary of the Mac, which the company launched in January 1984 with its now-legendary "1984" Super Bowl spot. "Its hard if you werent there to remember how things were in 1984," he told the crowd. "The Mac came out and changed everything. It was literally a decade ahead of everyone else." Jobs also hailed the move from the historical Mac OS to the Unix-based Mac OS X as the fastest platform transition in history. "Forty percent of the installed base has moved over to the new operating system in past three years," he said. Jobs said that while Apple has revamped Mac OS X four times in three years, Microsoft Corp.s "Longhorn" release of Windows isnt due until 2006. "Microsoft is copying us again," Jobs said. "It feels great." Discuss This in the eWEEK Forum (Editors Note: This story has been updated since its original posting to include consumer announcements.)

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Matthew has been associated with Ziff Davis' news efforts for more than a decade, including an eight-year run with the print and online versions of MacWEEK. He also helped run the news and opinion operations at ZDNet and CNet. Matthew holds a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.


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