A Whole Lotta Luv

Well, yes.  Naturally I watched Steve Jobs emcee Apple‘s Back to the Mac event yesterday.

Now, I must confess that when Apple first introduced the huge change from iMovie HD (version 6 in 2007) to iMovie (version 7 in 2008) I made no secret of my utter disgust.  It was a huge, enormous step backward.  Apple quickly responded to the extreme customer dissatisfaction, because users were in an outright uproar, by almost immediately, within days, releasing an update with added features.  Everyone who had used iMovie HD continued to use it.  I don’t know of anyone who actually used iMovie 7, which was less than featureless, even with the immediate update.

iMovie (version 8 in 2009) was a big step forward, though previous users of iMovie HD, myself included, had a difficult time getting into the new interface. which was conceptually nothing like iMovie HD (version 6 in 2007) and every previous version of the software.  Previous users generally didn’t like the new interface introduced in 2008.  New users were not so encumbered.  Ok.  With this new version in 2008, there seemed to be some hope.  Maybe Apple hadn’t made a huge mistake with this new GUI.

Yesterday Apple introduced iMovie (version 8) in iLife ’11.  (Isn’t all of this year versus version number thing so damned confusing?!  And then you have the suite numbers and version numbers for the pro products…  Jeeze!)  The new version now, in my mind, officially rocks my world.  So, from where I’m sitting, it took Apple 3 to 4 years to release a product that is absolutely better than iMovie HD.  You know, I guess I just wish this had been the version they released back in 2008.

iMovie ’11, as I’ll call it to minimize confusion, appears awesome.  I should be getting my hands on a copy of it today.  I suppose what I found most fascinating, even tantalizing about this newest version, is the movie trailer templates feature–a virtually bullet-proof way to make nothing less than stunning movie trailers.  From an educator’s perspective, I see this a an excellent way to teach students to better articulate their quasi-innate understanding of the language of film production.  (The quality of the video footage used in the demo didn’t hurt any, of course.)  But I will be interested in seeing how this actually takes off out in the field for common users and, more importantly, for students.  I see enormous, enormous, enormous potential here.

The new MovieMaker in Windows 7 is just about where iMovie HD was in 2007, although the interface, like most of Windows, in my opinion, is just flat out ugly as hell and grotesquely stark—the last thing a person who is being create needs or wants.  Now the latest version of the Windows movie production software appears to be in the stone age once again, eating Apple’s dust.  Can’t Microsoft do something innovative rather than just copy everything Apple is doing?!

I’ve been hearing the rumor mill whispering about a complete remake of Final Cut Pro, Apple’s pro level movie-making software.  I immediately thought that if they did such a thing, I wouldn’t even consider upgrading.  Now, having seen where Randy Ubillos has taken iMovie ’11, I’m a lot more open minded.  This could be really interesting.

Oh, and sure, the new features in iPhoto ’11 and GarageBand ’11 were cool as well, but iMovie ’11 was the product that just blew me away.  (I don’t know what the new features are in the other apps in the iLife ’11 software suite.)  Of course, iLife comes free on every new Mac purchase.  Existing users can upgrade, and Steve Jobs is right:  for $49, iLife ’11 is the best software value on the planet!

What Apple has done in the past decade is nothing short of a miracle.  My heart is actually warmed by the fact that the marriage of brilliant engineering, meticulous design, and creative genius has produced the spectacular contribution that is Apple, Inc. And I want to further note that Apple is now a blistering financial success, with stunning sales records and profits in everything they are doing, even in an extreme depression—an American economy that is utterly in the toilet because of America’s complete lack of creativity and innovation in everything except blowing things up and killing people.  The bulk of Apple’s revenue is coming from completely new and innovative products that didn’t even exist much more than 3 years ago.  Apple is a model for what America can do, what America can be.  It’s about leadership that carefully nurtures the marriage of engineering, design, and creative genius!