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Job Postings and Patent Acquisitions Hint at Potential Overhaul of iLife and iWork
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.
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.
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 usersNew 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.