Michael has a nice comparison and likes the new one. I’ve only had a quick play with it, but I admire Apple’s courage in breaking out of the traditional video-editing user interface model. There are some bits of it that are done very well, and if you’ve never used any kind of video-editing tool before so don’t have anything to unlearn, it could be rather good. A major use of iMovie is in education; I’d be interested to know how that world takes to it.
I do most of my video editing in Final Cut Express and only use iMovie for quick stuff. I expect the new iMovie would do the quick stuff just fine, perhaps better. But it’s less capable than the old one and I couldn’t survive on it alone if I didn’t have FCE, which I might have been able to do in the past.
A cynic might suggest that this is deliberate, that Apple want to push more people to upgrade, but I don’t think that’s their way. iPhoto keeps getting better and better, for example, despite the obvious upgrade path to Aperture. And if you wanted to smooth the path for those school kids to become eventual Final Cut Pro editors, you wouldn’t introduce them to that world using a completely different paradigm.
No, I think the only real mistake here, as others have said, is calling it iMovie and selling it as an upgrade. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Follow-up: One more thing to be aware of from the System requirements page: “iMovie requires a Mac with an Intel processor, a Power Mac G5 (dual 2.0GHz or faster), or an iMac G5 (1.9GHz or faster )”. Powerbook owners take note. If, for this or any other reason, you prefer the previous iMovie, Apple offer it as a free download for those who have purchased iLife ’08.