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The April iMovie for Mac Update Rundown

If you own a Mac, chances are it came with iMovie preinstalled – a handy little video editing package, which is ideal for amateur moviemakers and those who enjoy tinkering around with home videos. In case your machine didn’t come with this app preinstalled, or, for some reason, you chose to get rid of it at some point and now realized you need it again, you can always download it from the App Store for $14.99. In the first half of April this year, Apple released a much-needed update to its video editing suite; most changes are minor upgrades, but the overall verdict is that the app has been substantially improved, even if in small increments. Here is our rundown of this month’s iMovie for Mac update.

The new features and upgrades in the iMovie for Mac update

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As stated above, most improvements in this version of the editing application are minor, but they do address usability issues, as well as several bugs. Here are the new features of the iMovie 10.0.3 release:

  • Events displayed in the sidebar can now be sorted by date, which is both intuitive, as well as useful for amateur video editors that work on deadlines. Events can now also be used for several video editing features, such as clipping and rotating.
  • Since the 10th version of iMovie saw the addition of several new titles, iMovie 10.0.3 improves on that and allows users to customize those titles by changing their font face, size, and color.
  • Transition durations can now be clipped through a simple double-click in timeline view. In terms of effects and transitions, Apple has included a lot of tiny, but important usability tweaks in the iMovie for Mac update. Users can now speed up their clips via the Adjustments Bar and these speed effects can also be smoothly transitioned in and out of.
  • Some bugs have also been resolved in iMovie for Mac 10.0.3, says the Apple new feature checklist for the release. For one thing, several issues that were previously causing the application to quit unexpectedly have been resolved, and, for another, the sharing issues have also been taken care of. Apple says it has worked through all the problems that had previously caused the sharing feature to fail.
  • The search feature in iMovie was previously rather unreliable, but the latest iMovie for Mac update has improved reliability issues, both for partial, as well as for multiple search terms.
  • In the previous version, some users experienced usability issues when using the app on a computer set to certain languages. The iMovie for Mac update promises to have taken care of these problems.

It will be interesting to see whether iMovie regains some of the ground it has lost to Final Cut Pro, its more complex and streamlined sibling. Many users extol the virtues of Final Cut Pro, which, in comparison, both looks better and allows for better timeline handling. However, historically, it has happened before for iMovie to surpass Final Cut Pro’s development curve – could this be the case now, too?

Bonus: The Xcode update from Apple

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On April 10, Apple also released version 5.1.1, alongside the iMovie for Mac update. This coding app, which can be freely downloaded off the App Store, is a comprehensive tool for developers that create applications for Mac, iPhone and iPad. It allows them to work at everything, from user interface design to testing and debugging, in a single window. It’s also an analysis tool, which identifies logic and syntax mistakes, as well as suggesting coding error fixes. The new version has done away with a bug that unexpectedly repositioned the Interface Builder canvas, another one concerning failed test reports for tests that had actually been passed and also improved the reliability of the Quick Look feature within the debugger.

’14 Winter Quarter Sees US Mac Sales Decrease

us-mac-sales-decreaseAs much as Apple fans would hate to admit it, sales figures for their pet brand haven’t been exactly stellar of late. And the latest Gartner report released on April 9, 2014, confirmed a largely anticipated US Mac sales decrease. The backdrop for this contraction in sales figure that Apple’s flagship computer posted is rather contradictory, as well as dynamic. By and large, two PC producers, Dell and Lenovo, have amassed the largest growth rates on the market, thereby polarizing it, while the rest of the actors on the scene suffered losses. The PC market in the United States saw a slight increase, in terms of the number of units shipped out, but, on a global level, the number of PC sold fell by a rather notable 1.7 per cent. In the following, we take a cursory look at overall market conditions for the winter quarter of the past financial year, and also try to untangle some of the reasons behind the US Mac sales decrease posted during that same quarter.

Who’s who in PC sales for winter ’14?

There were 14.1 million units of PCs sold in the United States during the first quarter of this year. By and large, the market remained somewhat stagnant, compared to the same span of time last year. There was, indeed, a small increase of units sold this year, while the global market saw a slight contraction, yet, in terms of producers, the rankings on the U.S. market shifted significantly. Indeed, HP still leads the charts, with 25 per cent of all PCs shipped in the United States produced by it. However, Dell and Lenovo came up strongly from behind and posted the most important increases of all the top five brands listed in the chart. Their respective growth rates for the year’s first three months were of 13.2 and 16.8 per cent.

According to Mikako Kitagawa from Gartner, the U.S. market still managed to fare better than most other regions around the world. The same expert brought into focus the structural change of the worldwide PC market, whose installed base of PCs was still growing last year, as opposed to the one in the U.S. which first started its decline there. There’s a massive saturation of PCs in the U.S., with 99 per cent of all households owning at least one desktop or laptop computer and over 50 per cent owning two such devices. Gartner estimates that tablets will penetrate the market by up to 50 per cent this year, but, at the same time, it’s allowing for a return to PCs in consumer spending.

What’s up with the US Mac Sales Decrease: Facts and Figures

Apple shipped 1.5 million units during the first quarter of 2014, which brought its market share to 10.8 per cent – a comparable number to Lenovo’s 10.4 per cent and Toshiba’s 8.4, but one that’s significantly behind Dell’s 23.8 per cent and HP’s neat quarter of the market. The company also saw a decrease in terms of market share, from the 11.5 per cent it boasted during last year’s first quarter, as well as posting a negative growth of 3.8 per cent on the year.

Though the situation looks largely negative, it’s worth bearing in mind that these figures are preliminary. Indeed, the US Mac sales decrease has also been reported by IDC, with a market share drop of 10.3 per cent chalked up to Apple, down from the 11 per cent reported last year. IDC data says the global PC market shrunk by a heftier 4.4 per cent. However, last year Gartner revised its Apple numbers by not one, but two share points, as the then recently launched iMac had been in very short supply. There have been no updates in Apple’s line up of Mac products since the beginning of fall 2013.

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