Macworld 2009 – a live report from our man in San Fran

By Valens Quinn

I’m at the MacWorld Keynote speech, minutes before the presentation is about to begin. There’s wild speculation on the floor about what may be announced. Here’s what some of the rumours are:

  • A new Apple TV
  • A new Mini Mac
  • A new iPhone the size of a Nano
  • A ‘netbook’ sized mac, although many don’t think this will happen

What will be revealed? Sit close to your computer as I’ll be covering the show live with the news right from the keynote floor!


Well, first off, it’s not Steve Jobs doing the presenting. Wild rumours about his health mean he’s probably not going to be attending, but we’ll see if he makes a surprise appearance on stage before the show is out. He’s using one of his VPs instead, Phil Schiller, who has kicked things off with a roundup of some of the new Apple stores that opened last year. A photo of Sydney’s new store opening got a big cheer from the crowd, and trumped the face time given to the store openings in China and Munich.

So, what’s new…

iLife 09

Lots of enhancements to Apple’s popular suite of tools including:

iPhoto 09: In iPhoto 09, you can use the new Faces feature to manage and track people. Uses ‘Face Detection’ which can find faces in the photo, which you can then ‘name’. A summary of your ‘Faces’ is where you can view the different people you name. iPhoto then uses Face Recognition to try and find your ‘faces’ in your library of photos. You can help train the Face Recognition to make it more acc urate – as it’s not perfect – but Apple says it’s the best of its kind.

iPhoto 09 has a new ‘Places’ feature to help you mange and organise where your photos were taken. It uses the geographical data (GeoTags) found in your photos to place them as ‘pins’ in a map view mode. This feature uses Google Maps data and Street View to locate them anywhere in the world. For those who don’t have a camera that applies Geo Tags, you can also enter this manually.

Also FaceBook and Flicker Tools are now built in so you can easily upload these photos to your photo sharing tools.

Slideshow enhancements have also been included and Geotag data has been used to add maps to your photo albums.

iMovie 09: Added more ‘depth and power’ and many usability improvements.

A precision editor adds far more accuracy. Mixing audio and video is easier to do now as well. There is also an advanced drag and drop mode.

The new automatic motion stabalisation feature to remove shaky filming. It looks pretty good as well – and relies on comparing frames of action and figuring out how to remove the movement of like content from frame to frame.

iMovie has a great map feature that lets you demonstrate starting and ending locations on an animated map. You can choose your locations, and iMovie produces a travel scene reminiscent of the map animations in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’.

Apple says there are lots of other features to help make your movies look professional that they didn’t have time to announce.

GarageBand 09: Much to the audience’s surprise, the first feature announced was a ‘learn to play’ a musical instrument. The interface includes an instructor and view of the instrument that you’re learning. A guitar and piano were demonstrated. Nine instruments are included free.

Also, there are ‘guest instructors’ that will teach you how to play their songs. Big names include:

  • John Fogerty – Proud Mary
  • Patrick Stump – Fallout Boy
  • Sting – Roxanne
  • Sarah McLachlan – AngelNorah Jones – Thinking about You

The celebrity instructors looked very fun and interesting, and the John Fogerty clip shed light on John’s personality and some fascinating history around his music. The celeb instructors certainly raised many cheers from the crowd!

New versions of iWeb and iDVD are included as well.

Price and availability

iLife 09 will go on sale in late January, with an RRP of $129. A Family version (multiple licenses) for the US was announced, for $US99, but there is no information on this for Australia at the time of writing.

The iLife Up-To-Date upgrade package is available to all customers who purchased a qualifying new Mac system from Apple or an Apple Authorised Reseller on or after January 6, 2009 for a shipping and handling fee of $16.95 (RRP including GST).