What’s New in Apple’s iPhoto ’11

iPhoto ’11 was announced as part of the iLife ’11 multimedia suite at Apple’s “Back to the Mac” event yesterday. This new installment of Apple’s iPhoto includes many new features to make it easier to edit, share and organize photos.

Apple’s iPhoto is a photo management and editing application is free with every new Mac, as part of the iLife suite. iLife  also includes iMovie ’11, GarageBand ’11, iWeb, and iDVD. It organizes photos by  event, faces, or places. Tools such as red-eye correction, cropping, and adding other photo effects are simple to perform with the application. It also enables users to share photos with Facebook and Flickr, create slide shows, publish photo books and order cards.

iPhoto ’11 takes the previous iPhoto experience a few steps further. The new Full-Screen Mode allows user to perform more tasks in an immersive mode, free of any extraneous menu items or other applications. This is especially useful on smaller screens, such as the new MacBook Air models.

The image’s meta data is now displayed differently in iPhoto ’11. Besides the photo’s metadata, faces and location where the photo was taken also displayed. A world map is displayed in the lower-left corner of the display when in full-screen mode, with geo-tagged photos pinned to it.

Social network power users will delight in the fact that they can now view Facebook photos, as well as comments in a more polished and visually appealing environment. Using iPhoto ’11, users can upload or manage new photos and albums, as well as view and edit old albums that weren’t created using iPhoto. Additionally, the user can update their profile picture, directly in iPhoto. This is all convenient because now the user can edit or enhance their photos, upload them, and view them, all from the same program and the same window. This Facebook integration is closely tied to the use of Faces, for tagging photos, and Places as well.

Sending photos through email can be a pain. With many message size limits, many users find themselves emailing a few pictures per email. iPhoto ’11 makes this process simpler and more visually appealing. Now, users can create and send an email directly within iPhoto. The photos are presented using one of eight pre-loaded themes. Users may also attach high-resolution versions of those photos. iPhoto then optimizes the message so that “it’s never too big to send.” The emails can be sent using MobileMe, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Windows Live Hotmail or AOL.

iPhoto ’11 brings about new slide show options. The new animated themes provide actual movement to photos, rather than the classic fade-in and fade-out effects. iPhoto uses the face detection feature used in Faces to make sure that every photo in the slide show is centered on the subjects face. The themes are also coupled with unique soundtracks that compliment the theme.

iPhoto ’11 also allows users to create their own photo books. The old versions of iPhoto allowed this feature as well, but iPhoto ’11 has brought many refinements. First off, there is an entirely new user interface for designing the book, called the dynamic Theme browser. Using Autoflow, iPhoto ’11 places selected images in the book, automatically. It completes this process in an intuitive manner by featuring higher-rated photos more often, keeping photos taken the same day together, and cropping photos using Faces, so that the people in the photos are accidentally cut out.  All of the colors, fonts, and layouts are customizable.

Another improvement is how printed photo cards are displayed. Book projects are now shown in an attractive looking bookshelf layout, very similar to the iBooks app on iOS devices.

Last but not least is the ability to create Letterpress cards. The user can choose between 15 themes, adding in text and photos. Cards can then be ordered individually or in bulk. The cards are produced on premium paper using an actual press. Then photos and text are printed on them. The cards come with matching Letterpress envelopes.

iPhoto ’11 is currently available as part of the iLife ’11 suite for $49.99, or $79.99 for a 5-user family pack.

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