Apple is giving its iLife suite of apps for Mac and iOS a fresh coat of paint today, just in time for Mavericks and iOS 7. iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband have all seen a visual refresh across mobile and desktop. Considering the desktop apps haven't seen a significant update in a long time, it's good news for those who rely on these apps that are bundled with OS X. All of the iOS and OS X apps are available for free today.
Eddy Cue focused on stage on how the apps now all include iCloud support, which means that saved projects across all three of the apps on mobile and desktop are accessible from anywhere, including Apple TV. Across the board the updates bring a simplified look that does away with some of the design cues prevalent in older versions of iOS and OS X, and Cue said that the apps take advantage of the performance improvements in Mavericks and iOS 7.
Perhaps the largest functionality updates come with Garageband. On mobile, the music creation app now supports 16 separate tracks of music, and up to 32 if you have a new iPhone 5S or a new iPad with a 64-bit processor (read: A7). On the desktop, Apple is bundling in a new sound library, but the most impressive new feature is called drummer. A handful of different drummers — named Kyle, Logan, Anders, Jesse, Max, Nicki, Aiden, and Gavin — each with different styles will automatically play along with your music. In a demo the feature seemed to work very well, but obviously we'll need to spend more time with it. More styles will be available as an in-app purchase.
iMovie has been "completely redesigned for iOS 7" and now features "desktop-class effects" on mobile, according to Eddy Cue. Apparently that means new abilities to speed up and slow down video — useful with the new camera in the iPhone 5S — as well as picture-in-picture options. The company's also done away with steps requiring you to create a new project before editing video on mobile — you can just jump in. On desktop Apple's bringing a new feature called theater to iMovie, which collects all of your videos for playback within the app. It also syncs with iCloud for playback across devices and the Apple TV.
Lastly, the major changes to iPhoto are visual. On mobile you can now create photobooks — a feature previously limited to the desktop that allows you to create and order physical coffee table books. We'll need to spend more time with all of these apps to see how they pan out, but it seems those with the newest iOS 7 devices using 64-bit processors will see appreciable speed boosts. The iLife suite will be free for those who purchase new Macs running Mavericks and new mobile devices running iOS 7. If you currently own any of the apps for desktop or mobile, you'll be able to update for free.