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What You Get

The installation DVD contains templates and the other programs in the suite. There is also a good electronic help system. You can also view video tutorials on Apple's web site.

System Requirements

  • Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11 or later
  • At least a 500 MHz G4 processor

Keynote (iWork '09)

By Monte Ferguson

Keynote, Apple’s answer to PowerPoint, also received an update with some additional features. Of the three programs Keynote, being the oldest in the suite, is the most mature. This means that this time around the program sees incremental improvements.

New
Most of the new features in Keynote ’09 bring more sophistication to the program. An excellent example of this is Magic Move. With Magic Move you can animate transitions between consecutive slides with objects that repeat. You can change location of objects, so they “move” across the screen, scale, change the opacity, and rotation automatically. Keynote does all of the work for you. You just choose a beginning and an end point.

Another example of increased sophistication is the new text and object-based transitions. With just a few clicks you can create morphing effects, where one object or word changes into another. The truly freshest feature for the program really isn’t part of the program. It is actually an iPhone or iPod Touch program. It is called Keynote Remote. Once you’ve installed the program on your iPhone or iPod Touch you an control your presentation from anywhere in the room via Wi-Fi. It displays your slide with notes on the iPod/iPhone, or you can see the current and next slide. To advance you use a swipe gesture. The program is not free, but it is only 99 cents.

A new Share menu makes it easier than ever to share presentations with others. You can instantly email a presentation. The sharing feature includes an image and movie optimization algorithm. This lets it shrink down the overall file size yet maintain a higher level of quality. You can also choose from this menu to share via the new iWork.com. (See below for more details.)

Sharing your Keynote documents has always been straightforward, if you saved them out as a QuickTime file or a PDF. (The option to save to PowerPoint is more complicated due to a lack of support in PowerPoint for some Keynote abilities.) But now there is a new way to share your files. It also provides a limited amount of collaboration. Apple announced this feature as a new service, currently in beta, called iWork.com.

You have to publish a document to iWork.com to take advantage of the service. Which is as easy as clicking a button in Formatting bar. Once you have published the file you can invite people, via email, to view, comment or download the file. It works with both Mac and PC users.

When the recipients of your invitation arrive at the site they are presented with an excellent copy of the original document. It appears just as you viewed it in Keynote. Invited visitors can add comments, which look like sticky notes and have an ongoing chat type running conversation in the side bar. If they prefer to have a copy of the file they can download it directly from the iWork.com web site. While the file was being uploaded iWork created copies in PowerPoint and PDF format, as well as a native Keynote file.

Right now the service is free, it is in beta, to anyone who has purchased iWork ’09. Apple has said that at some point they do plan to charge something for the service. How much is yet to be determined.

Improved
An Enhanced Template Chooser, much like the one found in the iLIfe suite, helps you to quickly sort through all of those built in templates. If offers high resolution resizable previews that greatly aid in picking just the right template. Thanks to being resizable, you can see the fonts, colors, and textures. You can also view all the slide designs by skimming over them. Keynote ’09 also features 8 new professionally designed templates.

Charts in Keynote gain some added pep. You can now add 3D textures to depth, and extra emphasis. You can also animate your 3D charts to add some movement and entertainment.

Keynote ’09 finally addresses one of my pet peeves. It finally adds dynamic integration with other apps in the iWork suite. It does this with a dynamic linking feature. It works like this. Now you can create a spreadsheet in Numbers. Later link to it in a Keynote presentation. When you update the spreadsheet the changes are automatically updated in Keynote as well. Long time Mac users will realize that this sounds practically identical to an old Apple feature from the 90’s called Publish and Subscribe. Which it is. I’m delighted to see this feature make a reappearance. The lack of dynamic linking between components of the suite was my main gripe with previous iterations of iWork.

Pros
The improved features solidify an already good program. By far the coolest feature is the Keynote Remote app for iPhone and iPod Touch users. Road warriors will appreciate being able to repurpose their own gear, rather than having to learn a different remote. Magic Move will be a welcome addition to anyone’s presentation skills. It adds a level of sophistication without being difficult to implement. I’m also extremely pleased to see dynamically linked content between programs in the suite. You have to try it to see how handy it really is. The iWork.com is an interesting additional feature. It’s rather early to tell, but it looks

Cons
My biggest grumble, lack of live linked data between apps in the suite, is no longer an issue. I really found no glaring faults with the program itself. Though it doesn’t offer many new features. I think iWork.com shows some initial promise but needs further refinement. It works well, as far as it goes, but it doesn’t allow true collaboration. Say some kind of check in check out type of system so multiple people can work on a document. It would be nice if it supported other files as well, for example jpegs or photoshop files.

Conclusion
Keynote has moved forward yet again. Much of the focus of this years release is about adding new transitions and special effects. Not exactly something that excites many prospective buyers.

This years release does not have much in the way of big features. It is more of an evolutionary update. The overall effect of the various improvements is that the program feels more advanced. It does sport some new features that can apply to a range of Keynote users and give the new version added value. I would heartily recommend the update. The combination of features, and low price point, make it worth the money to upgrade.

Posted: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009


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