On every Mac you buy you will find iLife bundled with it. When I bought my first Mac in 2004 I immediately fell in love with iPhoto the photo management application in iLife. I looked at the other parts of iLife i.e. iMovie, iDVD, iWeb and Garageband but never really started using them.
During the years I kept my iLife up to date and even did a website or two with iWeb. IWeb had one drawback in that it really was geared towards publishing websites on .Mac or MobileMe its new name.
Apple released iLife9 in the beginning of this year and last week I finally spent the money to upgrade. It definitely does not disappoint. iPhoto has two great new features, faces and places. Faces uses facial recognition to search for people in your photographs. With a bit of training it actually works great and it took me about an hour to tag the recognized faces in my photos with names.
Places is a bit more mundane and allows you to tag your photos with GPS co-ordinates. It helps of course if you have a camera or phone with built in GPS but you can tag you photos with places without owning a GPS. iPhoto will show you a map with pins stuck into it indicating places you (or your GPS) has marked. If you click on a pin iPhoto will show you the photographs taken in that place.
iWeb now also has the possibility to directly publish to a site using ftp. For me this is quite useful because I don’t own a MobileMe account and for simple websites iWeb works really well. It is also a lot easier to add your own code to a website.
Garageband is a music creation program that comes with iLife. Not being a musician I always played around with it a bit and used it for simple mixing tasks but not much more. It now comes with a Learn to play feature. You get a set of free lessons (that you have to download) to learn playing the piano or guitar. I tried out the first two piano lessons and found them very easy to follow. I’m sure that someone that wants to learn to play seriously will find these lessons very useful. After you did the free course there is the possibility to download lessons created by successful artists teaching you their music.
All things considered I think iLife09 is worth the money.