Apple Intros Mac App Store, New MacBook Airs, iLife 11, OS X Lion

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage today to announce the new iLife ’11 software suite, FaceTime availability for Mac users, Apple’s upcoming operating system “OS X Lion,” and new 13.3- and 11.6-inch models of Apple’s ultraportable MacBook Air notebooks. Here’s a look at what’s new.

iLife ’11

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Apple has updated its iLife suite with new versions of iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand, and more. It’ll be included for free with every new Mac or you can upgrade for $49. It’s available today.

iPhoto ’11 sports new full screen modes, Facebook enhancements, easier e-mailing of photos, enhanced slideshows, and new “Faces” and “Places” views.

Places view looks pretty cool. It brings up a map of a city or other geographic area full of pushpins representing photos you’ve taken with a camera featuring built-in geotagging (like the iPhone and most camera phones). You can then play an automated slideshow that zooms in on a particular photo, then flies out to an overhead view of the map before zooming back in on the next photo wherever it’s been tagged on the map.

The iPhoto info panel will let you share a particular photo via e-mail and several social networks or photo-sharing services and will even display comments left by your friends as they’re pulled in from your various social networking sites.

You can also create “Letterpress” cards, which are basically fancy embossed greeting cards with your photos added.

iMovie ’11 touts all new audio editing features, new audio effects, enhanced slow-motion controls, and a simple movie trailer maker that intelligently cuts your video footage together by asking you to provide certain shots to preset storyboards. The feature leverages the face recognition technology in iPhoto to automatically determine close-ups, group shots, action shots, and more.

GarageBand ’11 now features “Groove Matching” to intelligently match several audio tracks to one particular rhythm track. It’s “kind of like an automatic spell checker for bad rhythm,” according to Apple. A bunch of new guitar and piano lessons have been added, too, along with a play-along feature that lets you play a song on piano or guitar in real time to improve your accuracy. It’s kind of like Guitar Hero or Rock Band in real life.

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