Apple wants to ‘re-imagine’ iLife and iWork apps

iPad 3 (iPhoto teaser)

Apple is looking for some fresh blood to join its iLife and iWork development teams and “re-imagine how user interfaces should be built and work”, a series of job ads posted on its web site indicates. In addition to engineers in the iLife Frameworks QA department, Apple is also seeking a QA engineer to help test new features in iPhoto, a Senior User Interface Designer for iWork and two Senior Software Engineer positions which explicitly mention improving the user interface of iLife apps…

MacRumors highlights reports by Apple Bitch and MacNN which scooped Apple’s job ads.

One of the posts, for a QA engineer, mentions a “passion” for digital photography.

Another one describes a Senior iLife UI Designer as a “key player in determining the future design direction of Apple’s consumer apps”.

We are looking for a visionary designer who is ready to and capable of taking software design to the next level.

A Senior iLife Software Engineer will “help us re-imagine how user interfaces should be built and work”, while an Audio DSP Engineer will have “a tremendous opportunity to work on cutting edge software and make Apple’s hugely popular devices sound even better”.

PAges 1.7.1 for iOS (iPad screenshot 001)PAges 1.7.1 for iOS (iPad screenshot 002)
Pages for iPad.

With iOS boss Scott Forstall’s departure, CEO Tim Cook appointed design guru Jony Ive the new steward of user experience across all Apple products. Ive should lend his proven design touch to iOS and Mac operating systems and the accompanying apps.

In that regard, it’s worth pointing out that the company recently bought eighteen “axis-based user interface patents” from Maya-Systems. These could be used for anything from iOS UI enhancements to better media management in apps like iPhoto and Aperture to new iCloud capabilities.

Numbers 1.7.1 for iOS (iPad screenshot 001)Numbers 1.7.1 for iOS (iPad screenshot 002)
Numbers for iPad.

Though Apple regularly issues compatibility updates to iLife and iWork apps – for example, last September it updated these for iOS 6 – the last major update to the iWork productivity suite on the Mac came over four years ago.

iWork includes the word processing program Pages, spreadsheet app Numbers and presentation software Keynote, priced at ten bucks each. As for iLife, on the iOS side there’s GarageBand, iMovie and iPhoto, each costing five bucks.

iLife and iWork apps started out on the Mac.

As you know, iTunes and the discontinued iWeb and iDVD programs used to be part of the Mac iLife suite. iTunes on iDevices is preloaded via stock apps, iTunes, Music and Video. Sadly, the web site builder iWeb never made a jump to iOS.

iPhoto for iOS (iPad, Photo Journals)
iPhoto for iPad. Screenshot courtesy of Apple.

Recently, jobs posts have indicated possible developments for Apple’s mobile efforts. For example, we learned that Apple is working on new iOS 7 APIs and even more conversational Siri.

Other job posts have hinted at Apple wanting to add support for the emerging Gigabit Wi-Fi standard to its devices.

Another one that caught our attention seeks plastics design engineers required for “new Apple product developments”, including devices that could be made from “transparent materials such as clear plastic” .

We think these hint at the rumored iPhone mini, of course.