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Apple Announces iLife '04, Including GarageBand Music Studio

Apple Announces iLife '04, Including GarageBand Music Studio

by , 3:00 PM EST, January 6th, 2004

Apple today announced the new version of it's iLife suite of digital hub applications, including new versions of iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and a new application, GarageBand. GarageBand is a tool for creating, editing and recording music directly on your Macintosh. From the press release:

Apple® today announced iLife™ ‘04, the next generation of Apple’s award-winning suite of digital lifestyle applications. iLife ‘04 features major new versions of iPhoto™, iMovie® and iDVD™ and introduces GarageBand™, a revolutionary new music application that turns a Mac® into a professional-quality musical instrument and recording studio for musicians and aspiring musicians alike. iLife ‘04 also features the recently-released iTunes® 4.2, the world’s best digital music jukebox software which includes the iTunes Music Store, the world’s number one digital music service. iLife ‘04 leads the industry in allowing consumers to easily organize their photos, manage their music collection, create movies, author DVDs and now create music.

“With iLife ‘04, Apple is taking another leap far ahead of its PC competitors in offering the most innovative software for organizing and creating digital music, photos and movies,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “And now GarageBand does for music creation what iMovie did for video and iPhoto did for photos—makes the creative process easy and affordable for everyone. Over half of U.S. households have at least one member who currently plays a musical instrument, so we think GarageBand is going to find a very receptive audience.”

GarageBand turns the Mac into a complete recording studio, allowing both novice and seasoned musicians alike to easily play, record and create amazing music using a remarkably simple interface. With GarageBand, recorded performances, digital audio and looping tracks can easily be arranged and edited like building blocks to create a song. GarageBand comes with more than 50 software instruments, including a premium-quality grand piano, that can be played and recorded with any USB or MIDI music keyboard. Over 1,000 professionally pre-recorded audio loops can be combined to make complete songs or backing tracks. Vocals and live instruments such as guitars can be recorded digitally via microphone or analog input. All these tracks can be edited and mixed together with over 200 pro-quality effects presets, including pro-quality effects such as reverb and echo, and the built-in expertise of professional recording engineers. With GarageBand’s advanced modeling technology, guitar players have access to some of the most revered vintage amplifier sounds with six guitar amps, including clean jazz, arena rock and British invasion. GarageBand can also export completed songs to iTunes for burning to CD, encoding in MP3 or high quality AAC, transfer to iPod™ or for use in the other iLife applications.

iPhoto 4 now lets users scroll through and resize up to 25,000 photos in seconds to find exactly the photo they’re looking for. New time-based photo organization gives users even easier access to their photos, and Smart Albums automatically organizes photos based on date, keyword or the user’s own rating. New slideshows include cinematic transitions and controls for rotating, rating and deleting photos on the fly. With Rendezvous™ photo sharing, photos can easily be shared between computers across home networks.

iMovie 4 features editing directly in the timeline to make movie creation easier and faster. Users can select and edit multiple clips simultaneously to modify and render clips faster and more efficiently. With graphical audio waveforms and live audio scrubbing, users can find specific edit points in audio tracks, and alignment guides make it easy to precisely sync video and audio. Live video can be imported directly from an iSight™ camera to the clips panel. iMovie 4 also makes it simple to share movies over the Internet via email or web with a .Mac HomePage, and users can take movies with them when they travel with a compatible Bluetooth mobile phone or PDA.

iDVD 4 includes 20 new Hollywood-style themes, many with intro movies and sub-menus, that can be personalized with music, photos and movies for truly original DVDs. Movies from iMovie, photos from iPhoto and music from iTunes or GarageBand can be added directly to a DVD via the media browser, and enhanced photo slideshows can include cinematic transitions and iTunes playlists. The DVD Map provides an overview of entire DVD projects, and professional-quality encoding can fit over two hours of video on a single DVD.

iLife also includes the current version of iTunes for Macintosh on the CD and will retail for $49 beginning on January 16th.

In addition to GarageBand's built-in loops, Apple also released the Jam Pack. The Jam Pack is a collection of over 2,000 loops, as well as additional software instruments, effects, and amps. From the press release:

Apple® today introduced Jam Pack, an add-on music content package for Apple’s revolutionary new GarageBand™ music creation software, announced today as part of iLife™ ‘04. Jam Pack triples the music content for musicians and aspiring musicians alike with over 2,000 additional loops including many for hip-hop and electronica; over 100 additional software instruments, including a concert grand piano and 12 string guitars; over 100 additional pro-quality effects presets; and 15 additional guitar amps, including surf, grunge, heavy blues and atmospheric.

The Jam Pack can be purchased alongside of iLife beginning January 16th for $99. More information on iLife and the Jam Pack can be found on Apple's iLife web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Garage Band is the single most important new product from Apple at this Expo. Yes, the G5 Xserve is important for Apple's enterprise efforts, and the upgraded Xserve RAID is likewise important. GarageBand, however, is going to bring a new era to musicians, and bring even more musicians to the Mac platform.

From a musician's point of view, GarageBand brings a new tool to the world of rehearsing, song writing, recording, and even performing. As we said in our live coverage of the keynote, it could be even more important if Apple allows independent musicians to get distributed on the iTMS. Imagine recording your song with a guitar and a keyboard, mixing it with Garage Band, and then having it distributed on the iTMS. That's a revolution waiting to happen.

We should also note that GarageBand represents a big threat to Pro Tools on the low end. It's likely (we don't know yet) that Pro Tools LE does a few things that GarageBand does not, but at US$49, GarageBand will win a lot of the non-professional market. That said, what is more important is that it will create more market, and that is big, BIG, BIG!

So the rest of iLife '04 is nice, but GarageBand is the big news to come out of this Expo.

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