Looks like Apple’s (s aapl) estimate of a late January ship date for iLife ’09 is coming true after all, since customers who ordered the application suite have begun to get notices that their copies are now shipping. Those customers will likely receive their copies of the product early this week, with official word from Apple putting the ship date at Jan. 27. Anyone buying a new Mac will also receive iLife ’09, since Apple is including drop-in, user installed copies on DVD starting today, and will be installing the software themselves on Macs shipping later this week.
Unlike iWork ’09, the iLife suite is not available as a digital trial download, so users haven’t yet been able to test the software live on their own machines. iLife has also evaded piracy thus far for the same reason, although it likely won’t do so for much longer.
iLife ’09 was announced at Macworld as part of Phil Schiller’s keynote address, alongside iWork ’09, and the 17″ aluminum Macbook Pro. It features a number of improvements, enhancements, and changes compared to the last iteration of the home media suite. iPhoto ’09 received considerable attention at Macworld, since it got what are arguably the most significant changes of the bunch. The program now includes facial recognition support, allowing it to identify and sort photos based on who is in them, and geotagging support, allowing photos to be organized by location and/or vacation destination.
Besides iPhoto, Garage Band also received functional updates, including a new “Learn to Play” mode, and instructional videos from professional musicians like Sting. iMovie ’09 now offers users both audio and video tracks in edit mode, a stabilization filter for unsteady or shaky video, and animated travel maps based on where video was shot.
The suite retails for $79.99 for a single user license, while a five user family pack is available for $99.99. I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to find out just how well that image recognition works. Definitely going to see if I can fool it with a rubber nose and fake teeth.