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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:04 AM   #1
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Job Postings and Patent Acquisitions Hint at Potential Overhaul of iLife and iWork




Several clues surfacing in recent days have hinted that Apple's iWork and iLife suites may be undergoing substantial redevelopment.

Late last week, Apple Bitch noticed two new job listings for senior software engineers for the company's iLife team, with the descriptions emphasizing a desire to "re-imagine how user interfaces should be built and work". MacNN followed up with its own reporting pointing to a number of other job postings for both the iLife and iWork teams suggesting that Apple is making significant additions to its teams.
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Apple has recently added several job postings that explicitly reference the iLife team or the suite itself, including requests for an engineer in the iLife Frameworks QA department; a QA engineer to help test new features in iPhoto (that requires a "passion" for digital photography); a Senior User Interface Designer for iWork, and two Senior Software Engineer positions that explicitly reference working on the user interface of iLife.
Apple's iWork productivity suite, which includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote, last received minor updates in December, while the last major update came over four years ago. iLife represents Apple's consumer apps (iPhoto, GarageBand and iMovie) and saw its last major update in October 2010.

Apple has also been active in the area of document management and the cloud, acquiring 18 patents addressing information management from Maya-Systems.
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a file sorting system that can reorganize according to time, category, or a common theme -- such as a work project -- and sync with cloud servers and other users
New senior hires and patent acquisition may point to a major redevelopment of the software, but as new hires are typically done early in the development cycle, it may be some time before the fruits of such work are released to the public.

It is also likely that the new versions of iLife and iWork would lose the skeuomorphisms - emulation of real-life objects and materials like desk calendars, leather and wood. There have long been tensions within Apple over this approach, but with skeuomorphism proponent Scott Forstall being forced out of Apple and Jonathan Ive having now assumed responsibility for Human Interface aspects of software as well as hardware design, a new design direction for Apple's software may be in progress.

Article Link: Job Postings and Patent Acquisitions Hint at Potential Overhaul of iLife and iWork
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:06 AM   #2
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About time!
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:06 AM   #3
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At least 64-bit please.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:11 AM   #4
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skeuomorphism and the aesthetics is one thing but what exactly has stopped them from having numbers as usable and competent application?

its got some nice drag and drop solutions but when it comes to actual work i will go to openoffice/libreoffice and google docs every time.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:11 AM   #5
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Let's hope this overhaul means bigger buttons and missing features!

On a serious note, I bloody love those icons for some reason.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:11 AM   #6
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Long overdue.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:12 AM   #7
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I hope they make some significant performance improvements to iMovie and Garageband. Things like better use of the CPU power to more quickly render projects and in iMovie, the interface response is rather slow. When I click on a project, I have to wait or click a second time to get the app to respond. No other app I have acts like iMovie.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:12 AM   #8
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Skeuomorphism or not, visual variety is useful: shape, texture and color cues that tell you instantly where you are and what you're doing, and trigger your habits for that particular app. Much more productive and easier to use than having everything look alike, as pleasingly minimalist as that can be on an artistic level. I'm happy to have GarageBand feel unique in one way and Calendar feel unique in another. Same reason the folders of papers in my cabinet are color-coded!

(Example: OS X's Finder sidebar icon like Home and Desktop that used to have colored sidebar icons. Now they're all the same blue-gray and you've lost a visual cue that made them quicker to find and click. Compare to the Go menu which still has the colors. "Like" them or not, those colors were useful!)

I don't think skeuomorphism is a problem... bad or useless skeuomorphism is! But so is bad or useless interface design of any kind. (Like relying on unique swipe commands with no visual cue to remind you how this app works.)

And one long-time classic skeuomorphic element makes good sense even with minimalist design: making buttons stand forward. In print, nothing is clickable and flat 2D design is great. On a device, some things are tappable/clickable/draggable--exactly like real-world controls--and giving them a little depth is a logical and useful convention. (Sorry, Windows Metro: I like the look and I'd hang it on my wall, but it has usability issues.)

So here's hoping for minimalist UIs... with clean, simple skeuomorphic elements where they're useful.

Last edited by nagromme; Feb 4, 2013 at 09:18 AM.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:14 AM   #9
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Finally!

It's getting embarrassing loading up a brand new laptop and having to put er, iLife 2011 on it. Or even iWork 2009.

'Why are you putting that old stuff on it?'

'It's Apple's newest stuff! I swear!'

The basic functionality of the apps is OK but they need some tweaking and be a bit more collaboration / internet aware. iPhoto especially starts like a dog.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:15 AM   #10
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Just sort out iPhoto and most people would be happy.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:17 AM   #11
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I could see them releasing the new versions along side OS 11.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:20 AM   #12
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And just because Apple posted job listings people on here will expect the new overhauled with pizzazz iWork to launch next week.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:23 AM   #13
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Long overdue. I'd love 2013 to be all about software and services. Outside of a redesigned MacPro and the retina iPad getting the mini's design language there shouldn't need be a lot of focus on hardware design this year.

Does anyone know if Ive actually has an HI or UI team that reports to him? In Cook's org announcement he said Ive would provide "leadership and direction" for HI but never said anything about him leading an HI team. If the software HI/UI guys are reporting to Federighi or Cue how much influence will Ive really have? And who gets the final say on look and feel?
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:24 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by mabaker View Post
And just because Apple posted job listings people on here will expect the new overhauled with pizzazz iWork to launch next week.
So true. But I think most people are looking for a UI change for these apps since the are not as intuitive as one would expect from Apple.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:24 AM   #15
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how about some love for aperture...

Hopefully this team means they will also develop the long-overdue Aperture 4...
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:31 AM   #16
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Hopefully this team means they will also develop the long-overdue Aperture 4...
No doubt. You want to talk about a piece of software that got long in the tooth. Come on Apple. There are still some fans of Aperture who haven't yet abandoned all hope. Throw us a bone for crying out loud.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:33 AM   #17
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This appears to focus largely on UI changes. It would be great to have an app which allowed you to select among three different UI schemes entirely as a preference setting.

It would reduce relearning for those who opt out of a "great new thing" that requires an uncomfortable or unwelcome change in process.

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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:35 AM   #18
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a file sorting system that can reorganize according to time, category, or a common theme -- such as a work project -- and sync with cloud servers and other users


That's the part that's eluded iWork and iCloud until now - the ability to mix file types. We think of them traditionally as Folders but themes is an equally good if not better convention. Tag files with keywords, as many as needed, so you can group and sort (and search) as needed. Hopefully Apple will not limit this to iWork files but will include PDFs, photos and, well, just about anything.

Big things coming for iOS file system.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:36 AM   #19
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I would LOVE new features added to Keynote. I'm a presentation designer and have had to use PowerPoint for many features that Keynote is missing
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:37 AM   #20
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Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! I have been waiting for this a long time. Finally!
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:40 AM   #21
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At least 64-bit please.
Why? It wouldn't be faster you know.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:41 AM   #22
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a file sorting system that can reorganize according to time, category, or a common theme -- such as a work project -- and sync with cloud servers and other users
Uh oh. More of Apple's clumsy attacks on the file system coming?
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:43 AM   #23
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iWork still can't compete with Word and Excel for anything longer than a few pages of pretty text and pictures. It seriously lacks any advanced features and for novices, the 'inspector' seems ancient compared with Microsoft's content aware ribbons.

As for iPhoto, it's crazy that it can't even work seamlessly with the iPhoto app on the iPad, although that point has been made plenty of times before.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:51 AM   #24
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All I personally want is a updated Pages and Aperture 4!
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:52 AM   #25
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I could see them releasing the new versions along side OS 11.
Assuming there is going to be an OS11. I still think they are going to merge iOS and OSX at some point in the future.

Either way I hope we don't have to wait that long. If they are just hiring people now it doesn't bode well given the time it takes to develop new software. We are looking at 2 years min before any new release if that's the case.

I really do think it's time Apple spun off their software business into a separate company or merge it into their Filemaker business. It's the only way we are going to see any serious software development again.
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