I spent my afternoon at Macworld today on the show floor, covering the bits that I didn't see yesterday, and spending a lot of time in the Apple booth. This allowed me to get a more in-depth look at some of the new stuff that Apple announced, including iPhoto 5. In a nutshell, iPhoto 5 seems to offer a couple of nice improvements over iPhoto 4, but all of the major things that suck about iPhoto 4 still suck in iPhoto 5. I was giving the poor Apple employee who was talking to me the business about it, and I got him to admit that some of the things that bugged me about iPhoto 4 bugged him too, and they still weren't fixed.
The "smart albums" still aren't very smart. I somehow got a bunch of low-res thumbnails in my iPhoto, and there was no way to create a smart album based on the resolution of the pictures. And there is still no way to do that in iPhoto 5. In addition, there is still no good way to add metadata to photos. Even worse, it appears as if there is no integration between Spotlight and iPhoto -- so even if you could add metadata easily in iPhoto, Spotlight wouldn't see it. The issues with file names on pictures remain -- when you export photos, you can assign them a filename based on the title. But that will only be relevant if you enter that in first (which, as I have discussed, is a pain in iPhoto).
On the upside, iPhoto 5 can download movies off of the camera. I convinced the guy to try it with my camera (I had my USB cable with me), since he has a similar Sony. During the Keynote, Steve Jobs said that iPhoto 5 supported MPEG 4. But it appears that he meant to say that it supports any movie format that Quicktime does. Because my camera generates MPEG1 movies with MPEG2 layer 3 audio, and iPhoto handled those just fine. You can also eject the removable media right from iPhoto now, although it doesn't eject automatically after export. Sorting the photo library by roll has been improved, in that you can name the rolls now.
So, all-in-all, a disappointment. If I had a camera that could generate RAW images, or if I was into making photo books, I'd be all over this thing. But, that's not where I'm at right now. So, it looks like $80 is going to be a tough sell for me. I think that Apple is going about this iLife pricing thing all wrong. It is right to build the applications so that they work together -- Apple is making clear gains there. But I don't think it is necessary to bundle them together. Since it is $80 for four applications now (iTunes doesn't count because it is free), Apple should just make it $20 per application. In that way, people who only do photos but not video (like me) will be satisfied. And people who do movies but not music will be satisfied, etc. And if you want them all, it's the same price as if Apple bundled them together.
Probably not ever going to happen, but it is worth a thought anyway.