There’s a benefit to installing software well after everyone else on the planet. You get to see it in a light that no one else can see, the hype machine and marketing speak is no longer relevant. You get to spend a couple extra weeks pumping yourself to a hysteria inducing frenzy, and the moment you install it and try it out, you get to see that it’s a giant cash grab. It’s as simple as padding the bottom line, and there’s absolutely nothing in the package that warrants the update. Talk about a giant letdown. iLife 09 sucks.

Well, it doesn’t suck as in a OMG it’s broken kind of way. It sucks in a OMG I could have stuck with iLife 08 for another year kind of way. I was lucky, it only cost me ten dollars for the upgrade because I bought a brand new laptop that shipped with the 08 version on it. My wallet is thanking me at this point. Don’t get me wrong if you were using the iLife 06 package still then this would be as good of a time as any to upgrade to iLife 09, but if you have iLife 08 I would wait until iLife 10.

iPhoto 09: Faces, Places, and Maps OH MY

The faces addon is pretty cool, the places functionality is pretty hot, online sharing is something that should have been built into the package from the beginning. Sounds like features worth upgrading for? Sure. If you have extra time to tag faces in a trillion photos, if you have the patience to manually place all of your photos on a map then this by all means give the program an update. But chances are unless your a professional photographer (you’d be using better tools if you were), then the only thing this application does is take up more of your time–something I can’t afford to give my crappy pictures anyway. On a side note, what digital camera comes with GPS support? Professional cameras need not apply. Your iPhone? Pft. That barely qualifies as a camera.

Online sharing was broken for me. I couldn’t upload to flickr because I had to many “sets” and I needed to upgrade my account to a pro account. What a load of crap. I don’t want sets. I don’t need sets. What I need is to be able to upload a random photo here and a pathetic attempt at a photo there. Just upload my damn photo, don’t tell me i’m inadequate. I’ve gotten enough of that from professional educators over the years. I don’t need my software playing that role now too.

iMove 09: An actual return on investment

If you edit a lot of home movies you’ve probably slurged, or better yet pirated, one of the final cut packages by now or even some of the Adobe products. But, for most of us, we exist in a space between needing a 200-1500.00 software package and needing something to chop up my latest attempt at being Gus Van Sant. Sadly, Van Sant doesn’t do screencasts, and I don’t do epic feature films. I use iMovie and he probably uses an entire studio to edit his films. The precision editor makes it worth the price of admission for me (Remember I paid $10.00), but if you’re more of a photo person then again I say iLife 09 is a giant waste of money for you. Video stabilization is pretty cool and really helps with the gag reflex when you’re showing people small clips of video from your latest holiday, but no one wants to watch those movies anyway, with the exception of family members, so do you really need to stabilize them to begin with?

Garageband: Oh look I can take music lessons

I already play the guitar, so I don’t really need lessons, but it’s a great place to get started if you were thinking about giving it another shot. Oh wait, you have to pay for them. Never mind. It’s not added functionality, it’s more of an added revenue stream. It hasn’t added anything to make your music sound better which is what I’d think an upgrade would do. Fail.

iWeb…sucks

iWeb sucks and there’s nothing about it I care to even talk about. Now that I think about it. I don’t think they really added anything to make your site better. They should probably focus on cleaning up the terrible wysiwyg code that they leave behind.

iDVD: it’s all about the themes

You buy the update because you need new themes for your home DVDs. You buy the update because you edit an occasional wedding video and your clients are starting to get a little suspicious of the menu with the curtains flailing in the wind because every single wedding dvd they’ve seen has it. Again there isn’t really anything new to iDVD. I would really, really, really, would like to seem them give you the ability to create your own menus with ease. That would be awesome. That would be something I would be willing to pay for.

As it stands if you need any of the above features then this updates for you, but after evaluating what we actually got from this release months after everyone was hyped about it, I’m not all that convinced that everyone needs to run out and get the new copy. Evaluate your needs first, make the purchase second, you’ll thank me for it in the long run.