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Mac Design Expo Puts iLife Front and Center

By Blane Warrene MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Jun 2, 2004 2:35 PM PT

The second annual Mac Design Conference kicked off Tuesday in Chicago with a keynote from Jim Heeger, senior vice president of creative professional products at Adobe.

Mac Design Expo Puts iLife Front and Center

Heeger's keynote, "Design for the Future," commenced with him reviewing what he called Adobe's rich history with Apple. He went on to note that the partnership between the two is more important than ever in today's business environment.

Adobe is among dozens of industry vendors exhibiting at the conference, including Extensis, Hewlett Packard, Micromat and Wacom Technologies. The conference is geared to a broad base of creative professionals, offering interactive sessions on digital audio, music, photography and video, Web design, and even a designer's guide to switching to Mac OS X.

But despite its professional focus, the conference is putting Apple's consumer-oriented iLife suite of digital-creation products front and center of its program, with several sessions covering tips and techniques for the pro user.

ILife Industrial Strength

The iLife sessions are scheduled for Friday, June 4th, and include presentations hosted by such Macintosh-community heavyweights as Adam Engst, publisher of Mac community newsletter TidBITS and writer of iPhoto Tips and Tricks; New York Times "Circuits" columnist and author of iMovie 4 & iDVD: The Missing Manual David Pogue; and Fred Johnson, product marketing manager of iPhoto at Apple, who will be hosting a general track exploring ways to take advantage of iLife's features.

These and other sessions reflect growing use by professionals leveraging iLife's tools for professional projects. ILife includes iDVD, iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes and GarageBand, and retails at US$49 per user.

According to Paul Troyer, IT Manager at Mahon Studios in Ohio, iLife not only saves his designers time, it produces professional-quality output.

"It's simple enough that our designers could handle the job without passing it off to our video department, yet powerful enough to keep the video from looking like a cheesy home movie," he told MacNewsWorld.

"We occasionally use GarageBand to make loops for flash movies, and have used it on occasion to create music for video," Troyer continued. "We also use iPhoto frequently to view photos after a photo shoot."

Adobe Strengthening Mac Ties

According to an Adobe spokesperson, the conference is integral to their strategy in the Apple marketplace.

"It is important for Adobe to showcase the company's continued commitment to the needs of the Mac community at large. The conference attracts many Mac-based creative professionals, so Adobe's presence at the show is important to illustrate its desire to support and connect with its Mac users," the spokesperson told MacNewsWorld, adding that Adobe also is focusing on Mac platform developers.

"Many developers are writing plug-ins for the newly launched Adobe Creative Suite. InDesign CS alone has attracted numerous new developers that have created applications that extend the power of the product," she said.

Crabby Winners

The Crabby Awards, established to honor Macintosh author Don Crabb, are the culmination of a graphic design contest held at the conference. Scott Kelby, cofounder and editor-in-chief of Mac Design, the conference producer, presented plaques to this year's recipients of the awards during the show's opening keynote.

Meanwhile, Troyer seemed disappointed at not being able to attend the conference. He said his crew has been so busy that none of them could spare the time for the trip.

"We would love to go, but we cannot afford to have people gone for several days at a time," Troyer said.

Troyer believes Apple should continue working on interoperability. "We would love to see 3-GHz G5s and continued mixed-platform networking [since] we use both Macs and PCs," he said.

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