Back in January 2009, Apple released iLife '09 and we haven't gotten a full version update since. Now, new rumors peg a November 2010 release for the iLife '11 suite that includes 64-bit support, a brand new iWeb, iOS compatibility, and the demise of iDVD.
Savvy readers on various Apple news sites have reported that a book has appeared on the German Amazon.com site claiming to be an instructional guide to Apple's forthcoming iLife '11 suite of applications. The product description, translated from German via Google Translate, reads:
"ILife '11 may be from the content is completely revised and written in 64 bits. Improvements are mainly in iPhoto and the integration of social networks. iWeb is completely rewritten, and iDVD will disappear, but there are also still a new application. In this book the reader learns all about the new multimedia suite."
There are a few pretty interesting details to consider about this rumor. First, the release date. Though a couple rumored releases dates for iLife '10 have come and gone, this one, November 2010 for iLife '11, actually makes sense. If the rumor of iOS compatibility is true, we could see a coinciding release of iLife '11 with the iOS 4.2 update, officially scheduled for sometime in November.
Apple has already made iMovie for iPhone as well as iWork for iPad, so it is conceivable it would be working on a complementary set of iOS applications for the other iLife products (iPhoto, iWeb, and GarageBand). Adding direct integration between the iOS versions of these applications and the Mac versions would add yet another layer of compatibility between Apple's devices and their desktop hardware, strengthening their ecosystem.
Next is the information that iWeb has been completely rewritten. As an avid iWeb user since the original version included in the iLife '06 suite, I am probably most excited at this news. The WYSIWYG Web page creation tool has some amazing features, but suffers from being heavy, underfeatured, and a bit outdated at this point. A fresh approach, presumably with HTML5 features, better social-networking integration, and more-powerful Web-editing functionality for slightly advanced users would be a welcomed upgrade.
The demise of iDVD has been a widely regarded inevitability in the evolution of Apple's game plan with iLife. Though DVD authoring is still used by some, the preferred method of distribution seems to be online. Replacing iDVD is a still mystical "new application" that has been widely rumored, despite no real details being available as to what it may be.
The other detail included in this product description is, of course, 64-bit compatibility. This comes as no surprise considering the across-the-board upgrade of most important applications running on Macs into 64-bit versions. Any moderate to heavy user of the iLife suite will certainly enjoy the speed increases that will undoubtedly accompany this spec (check the difference between Adobe Creative Suite 5 and CS3 or CS4).
Obviously, it is unknown whether this rumor will pan out. Without an official word from Apple, iLife '11 remains a myth. Without going so far as predicting a release date, I would put my money on a new iWeb that better leverages social networking; has an easier interface and includes more-advanced coding features; and includes a new set of iOS applications that are directly compatible with the Mac versions, including photo editing, Web site maintenance and creation, and the ability to create music on iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads, and of course everything running at full 64-bit functionality.
What's on your iLife wish list? Let me know in the comments!