Apple Keynote ‘09

When Apple releases new software, it's almost always perceived as less interesting or compelling than when they announce new hardware. In a sense that is understandable, but it is a pity. The latest iWork '09 productivity suite is a fine example of why that is a pity. All applications in that software suite have been given quite powerful new features and improvements. Keynote '09 is no exception.I’m not going to repeat what the new features in Keynote ‘09 are. You can see them in action on Apple’s iWork pages yourself. What I’ll try to do is give you an idea of how important these features are.

The new Theme Chooser, for example, doesn’t look very new until you hover your mouse over the thumbnails—the Theme Chooser is new for all iWork applications, by the way. As you move the mouse across the thumbnail, the Theme Chooser shows you the thumbnail for every template page in a template. That cuts down on time and on guesswork; you’ll know exactly what to expect before opening the template, especially so because thumbnails can be resized.
Features like Magic Move and new text- and object-based transitions are nice and they add diversification to a presentation, but they don’t have much significance in terms of time savings. The transitions that are new are easy to apply, but we’re used to that from Apple, so little new there. The same goes for the new chart types (the 3D ones are especially appealing, as are the new textures) and chart animations.

If you’re using Keynote ‘09 to actually show slides to an audience, then the Keynote Remote functionality lest you use an iPhone or iPod to control the presentation from anywhere in the room using Wi-Fi.
To me, however, the most exciting novelties can be found under the “Share menu”. Keynote presentations can be sent to YouTube, via e-mail as PDFs or PowerPoint presentation, or to iWeb, iDVD, or even GarageBand for additional music. The new Export option enables you to export as QuickTime, PowerPoint, PDF, Images, HTML, or iPod. Flash export capability has been removed. That’s not as bad as you think—Flash can’t render the many complex transitions that Keynote supports, so a Flash export was always a crippled version of the original.

With its YouTube support, and its support for iWeb, Keynote ‘09 adds much more interesting export modes than with Flash. With these two export modes, Keynote becomes more than just a presentation building application. It becomes an individual’s publishing tool, just like iWeb is—with the difference only being the file formats Keynote ‘09 supports.

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