Get an iLife

6th January 2006 at 00:00
Apple's iMac is a great buy, not the least because of the iLife software it comes with

Most computer manufacturers put all their focus on hardware features, but for many students and teachers it's the "free software" supplied with Mac computers that often appeals the most. Apple's iLife suite, which contains GarageBand, iMovie, iPhoto and iTunes, provides all the tools students need for a wide range of ICT and design projects.

The same is true of this latest version of the iMac. It's a little bit slimmer and faster, but the machine's basic specification is relatively unchanged. However, Apple has thrown in two new features, along with some enormously enjoyable software for you to play with.

Tucked into the top edge of the computer screen is a little webcam that can be used with Apple's iChat AV software to provide a complete video-conferencing system.

There's also a new bit of software called Photo Booth that allows you to take pictures and experiment with special effects. It's great fun, and will no doubt have students queuing up to muck about with their mug shots (although not necessarily a good thing in class).

Apple has also included a small remote control unit that works in conjunction with a new piece of software called Front Row. You use the remote control to launch Front Row, which then puts a new menu display on to the computer screen that allows you to view and play any photos, music or video, stored on the computer.

Admittedly, this is primarily intended for home users who want to use the iMac as an all-in-one entertainment system, but it could also be useful for presenting video or other projects that students have put together on the machine.

The only drawback - as always with iMacs - is the use of a flat-screen monitor, which pushes the price up a bit. However, the built-in webcam and free iLife software provide good value for money and make the new iMac an extremely versatile multimedia machine.

Apple iMac

Computer with all the processing built in to the slim, flat screen.

Prices: with 17-inch screen and 1.9GHz processor - pound;719+VAT; with 20-inch screen and 2.1GHz processor - pound;959+VAT (see website for education prices)

Fitness for purpose ***** Ease of use **** Features ***** Quality ***** Value for money ****

Apple Computers Stand E34F34

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today