Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced new iMacs, iLife '08, and iWork '08 during the company's special media event last night.

It has also been revealed that Apple quietly took the opportunity to upgrade the Mac mini and AirPort Extreme.

Jobs also confirmed Apple has been exceeding industry average marketshare growth across the last few years.

New iMacs

The new iMacs reflect the appearance of the company's professional machines; manufactured in aluminium and glass, the new Macs sport 20- or 24-inch displays and are available with either 2GHz or 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processors, or with a 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme processor.

The top of the range model is the first Mac to ship with Intel's advanced Core 2 Extreme chip, though Apple didn't do much to underline that fact. It also offers a 500GB hard drive, which should be sufficient for most media libraries.

You can read about the new iMacs here.

Mac mini upgraded

Apple defied speculation with a stealthy update of its Mac mini range. These machines now ship with larger hard drives and ship with either a 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo or 2.0GHz Core Duo processor.

Two models are available, with prices starting at £399. Apple claims the new affordable Macs offer speed improvements of up to a third on preceeding models in this range.

Read all about the new Mac minis here.

Introducing - iLife '08

The new version of iLife skips 2007 altogether, moving from iLife '06 to iLife '08.

The suite of creative applications hosts many improvements, including a completely new version of iMovie, designed to let users make a film in "half an hour," Jobs explained.

iPhoto benefits from a range of .Mac-compatible collaborative features, and an all-new way to navigate large image collections.

New editing tools, a new ability to impose image edits across multiple images and a selection of new image browser views (including the Cover Flow-like 'Carousel' view) also debut in this release.

iWeb also sees improvements. It's now far easier to use the application to develop and deploy personal websites on non-.Mac servers.

iWeb also offers automatic support for Google's AdSense technology alongside support for web widgets. Users can drag and drop widgets such as Google Maps or YouTube videos into their website creations.

Users can also easily add Google Ads to their sites, if they want to make a little money to help them pay the £69 per year .Mac subscription.

You can read more on iWeb here.

GarageBand gets its own place in the spotlight, with a new feature (Magic GarageBand) for on-the-fly music composition, and a range of advanced improvements (including multi-session recording) that should benefit podcasters and semi-pros using the application for music creation.

Apple also quietly released a new collection of Apple Loops, Jam Pack: Voices. The collection comprises 1,500 vocal loops for use in music projects.

There's so many significant new features we have created a report on each available application.

Movies in minutes with iMovie '08 (also includes information on iDVD upgrade). Read it here.

Introducing the web 2.0 iPhoto '08. Read it here.

GarageBand '08 - power and fun. Read it here.

iWeb '08 sites freed from .Mac thrall. Read it here.

Heavy industry - iWork '08

With such extensive iLife updates, it would be foolish to assume Apple wouldn't update iWork - and it did, delivering a new so-so-simple spreadsheet application, called Numbers.

Numbers is very similar in use to that of Keynote or Pages. Like these applications it focuses on the appearance of projects - you can create an attractive spreadsheet in seconds.

The application offers multiple features for data entry, including intelligent tables, readable formulas, and Excel import/export facilities.

Chart creation, image management, text labels, and the ability to add photos and diagrams also appear in this release.

Keynote offers new text effects, new transitions, and powerful new tools for using images in a presentation. A slew of automatic tools also appear.

Pages has turned a new leaf. That application now offers two modes: word processing and page layout. Change tracking, new templates and a contextual format bar also appear.

More on iWork '08 here.

.Mac upgraded

Collaboration seems central to the future .Mac experience.

iPhoto now supports Web Galleries, and while these aren't new, these .Mac-hosted galleries become a two-way street for image sharing.

You can deploy your own image galleries easily, but the software can also be set-up to allow site vistors to add their own images to your collections.

You can choose whether to make your galleries viewable by anyone, just your friends, or for private use. You can even set the system up so that site visitors can download full resolution images for print.

Some point out that that last feature would be improved by the addition of PayPal or some other method by which photographers could sell images direct.

.Mac subscribers can also now expect their disk space to be upgraded from the current 1GB to a more useful 10GB. Apple is applying this space upgrade in stages, but promises all existing .Mac users will have access to 10GB of space by 14 August.

Industry watchers are already speculating that these new .Mac improvements are the thin end of the wedge, and expect Apple to introduce new levels of enhancement to the service when Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' ships in October.

The company will have to continue to innovate its .Mac service should it wish to retain its existing 1.7 million members.

AirPort Extreme Base Station improved

Apple also quietly upgraded its AirPort Base Station.

Features remain the same, but the company has responded to critics and introduced Gigabit Ethernet support in the product.

Wrapping up, Apple has also issued software updates for Front Row, Aperture and iPhoto (iLife '08).