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Summary:

It wasn’t quite the same lively Macworld keynote without Steve Jobs, but it looks like self-deprecating Phil Schiller, Apple’s VP of worldwide product marketing, did an admirable job of introducing a whole slew of products, including the new Macbook Pro (17-inch version) and the new DRM […]

It wasn’t quite the same lively Macworld keynote without Steve Jobs, but it looks like self-deprecating Phil Schiller, Apple’s VP of worldwide product marketing, did an admirable job of introducing a whole slew of products, including the new Macbook Pro (17-inch version) and the new DRM free iTunes music store, without so much as mentioning Steve Jobs. Of all the product launches, I was most impressed with Apple’s new software – iLife ’09 and iWork ’09. In this day and age, when it is widely assumed that all apps are moving to the Internet, Apple has done the opposite and given its desktop apps a big boost. What I was impressed by is how the company has brought the Internet into these applications.
ilife09The new version of the iPhoto application now allows you to seamlessly upload photos to Facebook and/or Flickr. Without much effort, it also allows you to geotag the photos, helping bring “location” into the desktop.

  • iPhoto ’09 automatically scans photos to detect people’s faces, and when you assign a name to any face iPhoto will automatically find more pictures of that person in your desktop library. It also lets you easily publish photos to Facebook or Flickr. The Places tool automatically imports photo location data from a GPS-enabled camera or iPhone, and you can manually assign a location to any photo, group of photos or event.
  • iWeb ’09 allows publishing to any hosting service, and it can also automatically send updates to your Facebook profile.
  • On GarageBand, you can download music lessons from famous artists like Norah Jones and Sarah McLachlan, using the new GarageBand Lesson Store, available inside the GarageBand ’09 application.
  • Apple also launched the in public beta of iWork.com, a new service Apple is developing to share iWork ’09 documents online.

Essentially, Apple has adapted its applications to accomodate new user behaviors that involve web services like Flickr and Facebook. In doing so, it is giving people a reason to keep using their desktop applications longer, for tasks that are more complex than, say, typing out a quick document. With these upgrades it has stayed true to its philosophy of focusing on user experience and usability.

This Internet-in-the-desktop approach is something we have talked about for a long time — probably too long. Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie, in an interview with me, extolled the virtues of a hybrid environment and said that in the future, Microsoft Office is going to live both on the desktop and in the cloud. Apple’s new iWork.com is an attempt to do just that for the iWork productivity suite.

In bringing Internet into its desktop apps, Apple is also trying to overcome its lack of web savviness. A case in point is iWork.com, which carries the beta tag but is more like an alpha. For now, you can’t edit other people’s docs; you can only leave sticky notes on them or chat about them. On the issue of collaboration, as hipsters would say, iWork.com is an epic fail, considering that even tiny startups are able to offer those features. It seems that, in order to actually edit the document, you have to download it and make change offline. If they want to be taken seriously, they’ll have to get it up to par with Google Docs; I hope they do.

That said, Apple’s newest upgrades show that, with enough creativity and the right functionality, desktop apps can still live on. As Tony Bennett sang to close the 2009 keynote, “the best is yet to come.”

With reports from Josh Pigford and Liz Gannes at Macworld in San Francisco

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  1. ScribeMedia.Org: The Business, Technology and Culture of Digital Media | And the Word Is: Links to Macworld Coverage Tuesday, January 6, 2009

    [...] Om Malik gives two thumbs up to iLife 09 and iWork 09, and notes that Garage Band lets you download music lessons from the likes of Norah Jones. He has an interesting take on how in a world where apps are heading to the cloud, Apple’s injecting steroids into their desktop apps. [...]

  2. links for 2009-01-06 « Brain Music –Gadgets, Neuroscience, Music, Social Media, Health 2.0 & More Tuesday, January 6, 2009

    [...] Apple Gives Desktop Apps an Internet Life (tags: apple) Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)links for 2009-01-04Over 30000 books to read on your iPhone. Free.   [...]

  3. WebWorkerDaily » Archive iWork.com: Apple Takes a Bite of the Cloud « Thursday, January 8, 2009

    [...] Om provided a great overview and perhaps the most pertinent release for web workers was the beta launch of iWork.com, Apple’s foray into web-based office productivity applications. [...]

  4. Lew Kingdom Blog » Macworld: Apple Rewards The Faithful Thursday, January 8, 2009

    [...] changes to iWork, in particular, parallel Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)’s strategy of offering hybrid desktop-Internet apps, writes Om Malik at GigaOm. But Apple has a long way to go there: In bringing Internet into its [...]

  5. Online Music Lessons Go 3-D « NewTeeVee Thursday, January 15, 2009

    [...] Music Lessons Go 3-D With Apple’s new GarageBand ‘09, you can watch celebrity musicians like Sting and John Fogerty show you how to play the guitar, and [...]

  6. Really looking forward to getting my hands on iPhoto. Thought faces was particularly impressive.
    iMovie seemed very popular during the keynote; this seems to be the version that probably should have been released after the old version was buried. ’08 is not great.

  7. Online Music Lessons Go 3-D | Viral Video Maker Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    [...] Apple’s new GarageBand ‘09, you can watch celebrity musicians like Sting and John Fogerty show you how to play the guitar, and [...]

  8. No way the iphone is far to expensive I got much better things to spend my money on. Here in Thailand you can buy a laptop for the of an iphone. I meen its pretty good and has lots of cool gadgets but at the end of the day its just a phone. look at this site and you’ll see what I meen. Look it up at steroidhome.com

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