iPhoto 4:Bigger, stronger, faster

It may just be $50, and not $6M, but Apple's upgrade to iPhoto works as promised, it is bigger (handles larger libraries), stronger (does a bunch more stuff, like photo sharing), and faster---oh, so much faster!

So, if you have a lot of photos (or if you will have a lot of photos) and you have a Macintosh, I would say that iLife '04 is worth the $50 ($79 if you want the 5-user family pack) alone.

I haven't had an opportunity to give the rest of the iApp's a run for their money (or, would that be my money), but if they've progressed like iPhoto, then I'm going to be a happy camper.

Once I reached about 2,500 photos, I'd switched to using iView MediaPro for my photo collections. Likely, I won't change that for much of my playing around, because the software has a lot of nice professional features, including lots more available techie data. However, if I were to do over again, I may never have bought MediaPro in the first place given iPhoto 4.

However, it is worth noting that even with the improved feature set and speed, iView MediaPro has some significant advantages in resource consumption. For example, with photo libraries of 2,500 photos each, iPhoto used 250MB of real memory and 450MB of virtual memory. iView MediaPro, by comparison, consumes only 15MB of real memory and about 150MB of virtual memory.

However, for $160 (and not including iMovie, iDVD or Garage Band), iView MediaPro is probably only worth it for real photo geeks and pros now.