"A very nice update to an already great consumer suite."4.0 starson by myles taylor
Pros: A lot faster and more streamlined. All of the programs seemed faster to me. A lot of fun and useful new features that will make the programs more appealing to consumers, which is the target audience.
Cons: Nothing especially revolutionary. The facial recognition software in iPhoto is fun, but doesn't work well enough to be seamless. It could be a lot more intuitive. It would have been nice to see a major update that changed the face of iLife.
Summary: iPhoto: nothing revolutionary. The facial recognition software isn't seamless but fun to play with. The overall interface is the same which means there isn't much of a learning curve if you're switching from '08. It could be a little more intuitive with the facial recognition software. There was too much going from mouse to keyboard to mouse for my liking.
iMovie: faster and has a lot of more advanced features in it. This will really please all those people who are still using iMovie HD. If you've been holding out on upgrading because of this, now is the time to upgrade. It kept the consumer level features they brought into 08 and added some of the features they took out of iMovie HD.
iDVD: Speed is what I noticed the most. iDVD was always so painfully slow I usually gave up on using it. It was very snappy and I actually enjoyed using it. I didn't do anything serious; just tested it out, but so far I like it. I haven't used the older versions enough to know if there are new features, but I like what I see so far.
Garageband: Once again the first thing I noticed was speed. That alone would be enough to make me happier, but the new features were killer as well. The Learn to Play feature is amazing and I can't say enough good things about it. It will be great for all those aspiring players who want to learn to play an instrument but who don't want to go to lessons every week. All those people who don't want to be dedicated to it but want to mess around with it while doing homework. Once again, I didn't get to use it much, but so far I love what I see.
iWeb: Greatly improved. I never used it because it's features were much too simple for me, but I have always wanted it to be something I could recommend for people who wanted a simple website creator without learning a more advanced program. 09 makes it much easier to update your site once it's published and has lots of new features for adding media to your website. I finally feel like iWeb is an application I can recommend for people who want to make a simple website.
Bottom-line is I think that iLife 09 is one of the best iLife's to date. They fixed a lot of things that they messed up in iLife 08 when they tried to make it more mainstream (and perhaps promote their professional apps) and kept a lot of the good things. They added enough new features to make it interesting but there isn't a huge learning curve involved. If you were holding out with 06 then it'd definitely time to upgrade. If you have 08 and are happy with it, there is no huge compelling reason to upgrade if you only use it casually. If you use two or more of the programs in the iLife Suite on a regular basis, I say you won't regret this upgrade.