By Monte FergusonApple has said that they're taking cues, and coding, used for the iOS
and bringing that back to the Mac. It is evident that the engineers
working on the iLife suite had that in mind with this release of the
iLife suite. Full screen view, a carry over from iOS, makes its debut on
the Mac. It could be argued that full-screen mode is the only new
feature in iPhoto 11. The rest are features that have been there but
have received major quality and functionality enhancements..
Anything you do in iPhoto can now be done in full screen mode with a
single click. You do not lose one bit of functionality when you switch
from one window mode to the other. If anything you gain more room to
work and get bigger previews in full screen mode. A new filmstrip lets
you keep track of the pictures both before and after the picture you are
currently looking at. You also gain, in full screen mode, an
information column that describes which pictures in your iPhoto library
have been used in what collections, albums, and other places.
Sharing photos often means sending emails to friends and relatives.
What should be a quick process requires coordinating two different
programs and several selections. Apple's solution is to compose the
email from right within iPhoto itself. No need to export the images out
to an email program and then compose the message. There are eight Apple
designed themes to choose from, and customize. You can arrange your
photos via drag and drop. The themes are dynamic, meaning you can fine
tune the settings (like font sizes). You can elect to include
high-resolution versions for your recipients to keep. iPhoto optimizes
your message so it's never too big to send. iPhoto integrates with built
in Address Book so you can send messages to loved ones. iPhoto keeps
track of all your email messages with photos, you're free to open a sent
message, make changes, and share it with someone new, anytime you want.
(A recent update has also restored the old behavior so you can choose to
use iPhoto or a preferred email app to send pics with.)
Your Social Life
Social networking sites, especially Facebook, are extremely popular
these days. Apple has increasingly made its apps more friendly to these
sites. If you post a picture,or a comment, to your Facebook account it
will automatically sync up with iPhoto. You can also set your Facebook
profile picture directly from within iPhoto. Flickr integration also
received a similar amount of improvement. You can post directly to your
photostream (instead of being forced to choose or create a photoset),
and photos already present in your photostream are also synced back to
iPhoto. In both cases you can annotate your pictures you are sharing
with Facebook or Flickr and see those updates synchronized to the social
networking sites. It is a two way street. Visitors to your Facebook page
can identify faces in your posted pics or, post comments, and those
updates also synchronize back to your Mac. iPhoto even shows you all of
your Facebook, or Flickr, photo albums, including the ones you published
using another application. You'll always know which photos you shared
(or didn't share) on Facebook,or Flickr, because iPhoto keeps track of
that for you.
A lot of attention was given to the printing aspect of iPhoto. In
particular Apple made a big deal out of the new design upgrades for
books and cards. The composition interface, Apple calls the "carousel",
spins to access different components of the design.
New for cards is a template for custom letterpress cards. Letterpress
cards are sharp. They are made on high quality mechanical presses to
create imprinted paper cards. Apple touts it as the first time
traditional printing techniques join up with digital photography. There
are 15 beautiful themes that come with matching envelopes. They do look
sharp and are something you will not be able to run down to Walgreens
and print right out.
Making a photo book has also seen some refinements. First you are
presented with a Theme browser, which displays the various themes in the
"carousel" along with your selected images. An Autoflow works to place
your selected images for you. Your key photo becomes the cover shot.
Higher rated images are featured more prominently, i.e. stand alone or
larger shots, and photos taken the same day are grouped together. The
built in face detection is used to ensure photos of people are cropped
and framed properly. You can even elect to have full bleed, i.e. no
gaps, two page spreads.
Both book and card projects are all collected in a projects bookshelf
interface that can be quickly browsed to pick the one on which you want
Lastly, Apple has improved the Slideshow features. New animated themes —
like Holiday Mobile, Places, and Reflections — give your photos
movement. For instance, in the Holiday Mobile theme, images swing in and
out as though they were hanging from an actual mobile. Each shot is
centered and framed perfectly, thanks to face detection. And the
animated themes include their own soundtracks, so your photos and music
play together flawlessly.
It gives the slideshow a mini movie effect.
iPhoto '11 is not a radical upgrade. However, the features that were
updated have been made more powerful. Working in full screen mode is one
of those powerful new features. It is very pleasant. It cuts down on a
lot of distractions. It also means your perception of color is more
consistent. With all of that new found screen real estate Apple added a
enhanced Get Info feature. It provides a lot more information about your
images. Another feature that received an update is face detection. Not
only has its accuracy improved, but it is also being further integrated
into the program. For those who spend part of their life on social
networking sites, the upgraded FaceBook and Flickr integration will be
particularly welcome. It is started to feel more like an integral part
of the program rather than a bolted on feature. The integrated email
feature in iPhoto is a very handy feature. It saves several tedious
steps over the old way of emailing pictures.
The initial launch of iPhoto '11 was marred by a nasty bug. Some early
upgraders reported that they lost all of their photos when they upgraded
to iPhoto '11. That problem has been fixed but it does highlight the old
advice to back up your important files.
Several of the irritating aspects of iPhoto '11 have also been addressed
with subsequent updates. Creating a calendar was at first M.I.A. It has
been restored. Apple gave with one hand and took away with another, at
first, with the email feature in iPhoto '11. While there is no question
it is cool to be able to email photos directly from iPhoto, some folks
prefer to use their own email program. The ability to use your own email
app to email photos from iPhoto did not exist when iPhoto '11 was
released. Instead you had to export photos, save them, then later attach
them to an email. Thankfully a later update from Apple enabled the
option to use an external email app to send photos.
My personal complaint with iPhoto '11 is that it seems sluggish. I get
the spinning beach ball more often than I can recall with iPhoto '09.
There is no obvious reason for those moments either. I also notice that
the social integration feature seems to take a while to complete
whatever it does in the background as well.
It would be easy to say that there is not much to this update. Sure,
it's lacking in big and showy new capabilities. What it does excel at is
an improvement across the board. Almost all of the existing features are
more powerful, or work more smoothly. If you were expecting a radically
different program you will be disappointed. But if you use some of the
features that have received updates you will be quite pleased with the
Posted: Saturday, April 2nd, 2011