iLife and iWork Initial Impression
UPDATE 01/14/06: added link to 1:30 screencast of iLife crashing.
Followed blog updates during Steve Jobs keynote yesterday and headed to Apple’s web site and read up on the new software and hardware. Impressed with Apple’s typical prowess at streamlining workflow with applications that are gorgeous and work great, I popped on over to the Apple Store this afternoon and picked up two family packs of the new iLife and iWork ’06 for $200 plus tax.
For the first time, I’m not pleased with what Apple has delivered.
Having been an Apple fanboy for many years, I’ve been enamored with how they take very complex concepts and make them simple for non-technical humans. I chuckle often when I realize that my bride and kids are using unix! Just so you know, I consider myself a power user on Mac and Windows as well as “most things internet” so I very rarely require nor ask for technical support — but I’m arm-wrestling iLife and iWork and am going to seek help.
After buying the apps, I came home and installed them and here is my initial impression:
- Booting iWeb *always* has a shameless .Mac splash screen. What’s up with THAT? If I choose to buy off on the service, fine. But don’t annoy me every time.
- iWeb crashes on a couple of the themes. I created an initial site (using the Travel theme) and published it offline in to a directory (which I’d do and then FTP it to my web host). Worked fine. When trying to choose some of the other themes (not all), the program would simply crash (Road Trip and Freestyle themes crash every time).
- Garageband 2 worked perfectly with my audio chain (Presonus Firebox) but this new 3 version does not. There is significant latency that I cannot eliminate (I talk and a uarter second later I hear the sound in my headphones) rendering it unusable. As a test, I booted up Logic Express 7 (my main podcast recording application) and it recorded perfectly so it’s not my gear or computer — it’s the new Garageband.
- iMovie is sloooow. I tried out one of their new themes (which are cool) but it takes a long time to render and the app has fits and starts. (Should note that I have a dual 2.5ghz PowerMac with 1.5GB’s of RAM).
- The iWork installer (for Pages and Keynote) would get close to completion and I’d get an error message that “installation could not be completed.” After performing system maintenance (trashing all preferences, repairing permissions, doing a cold reboot, etc.) and after repeated tries, the error message continued. Finally, I decided to just attempt to double-click and launch Keynote. It worked! My response was, huh?
This is so unlike Apple. My bride is in Europe and we talked yesterday…and I mentioned buying these apps plus planning to order the new MacBook Pro (the Intel-based Powerbook replacement). She said, “You never buy the first generation anything…shouldn’t we wait?” I was prepared to order one anyway and live with any problems that arose….but now I’m going to wait until the bugs are worked out.
I really appreciate how Apple takes concepts like podcasting, web publishing, video editing, print publishing, presentations and DVD creation to new heights of elegance, sophistication and yet be so focused on simplicity. But if a guy like me — who can troubleshoot nearly every technical problem — finds that easy, elegant and simple applications don’t function or have installation problems, what is non-techie Joe SixPack gonna do?
About Steve Borsch
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.