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Predicting 2010: iLife, iWork & iTunes

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With 2010 around the corner, Apple is poised to begin a new year that should yield lots of great advancements in its consumer software arena. Here’s our predictions for what could be in store for the latest versions of iLife, iWork and iTunes. (These predictions are not substantiated by rumors or other “inside evidence” and are purely speculation based lots of experience with these applications and their histories.)

iLife X

Probability: Guaranteed
When the last version of iLife launched, it adopted the moniker “iLife ’09.” Recently however, Apple has modified most of its website to drop the date from the title. Now simply called “iLife,” I wonder if Apple will be quick to release a new “yearly” iteration at the outset of 2010.

Based on previous versions, the next iteration of iLife will require Mac OS X 10.6. By requiring Snow Leopard, this does make iLife an Intel-only release. Though some users will be left behind, significant performance gains should be recognized by taking advantage of 64-bit technology included in Snow Leopard.

Within the apps themselves, I believe we’ll continue to see significant updates. Here’s the roundup.


Probability: Possible
The addition of Faces and Places to iPhoto ’09 was just the beginning. The next version of iPhoto will support more accurate facial recognition and integration with Twitter. Those who enjoy the photo slideshow themes that were added to the last version will enjoy a larger selection of new themes that will be added in the new version. I also predict that the next version will bring support for bulk renaming of files (similar to how Aperture can do this upon import) and better performance when dealing with larger libraries. I also predict revised or better photo editing controls with additional effects.


Probability: Possible
I believe the next version of iMovie will boast support for posting videos directly to more Internet services, such as Facebook and Flickr. An expanded set of new themes as well as more advanced title options will be present as well. The user experience of the application will be refined, for those who are still frustrated by the intense switch from iMovie HD to the last two versions.


Probability: Guaranteed
iDVD will likely see one of the most significant updates that it has ever seen in quite a while. 2010 will mark the beginning of new ways of enjoying media. From the possibility of the first out-of-the-box Blu-ray drives on the Mac to iTunes Extras & LPs to the elusive Apple Tablet, the presentation of digital content remains a key focus for Apple.

The next version of iDVD will help push this agenda forward, allowing users to create Blu-ray discs or optimize their video content into formats like iTunes Extras. Such a dramatic update would likely warrant changing the name of the application, but that’s also within the realm of possibility. iDVD has definitely been late to the party for the past two years, seeing only small maintenance updates. While many speculate that Apple plans to axe DVD creation altogether (foreseeing the death of the digital disc in favor of digital distribution), I believe Apple has been working on a successor application to take advantage of new forms of distribution (a la Blu-ray or iTunes Extras-styled media).


Probability: Possible
iWeb is one of those apps that is difficult to pack full of compelling new features every year. I predict the next version of iWeb will support more themes and a few more widgets, including a widget that provides a live feed of your Twitter stream on your website.


Probability: Possible
GarageBand will likely see an expanded music lesson store with more artist lessons and lessons for drums and bass. I also predict Apple will make it easier to share GarageBand creations beyond iTunes and iWeb. Similar to the other apps, I believe we will see support for exporting to other web services such as Facebook or YouTube.

iWork X

Probability: Possible
I predict the biggest improvement to the iWork suite will be a tighter integration with the iPhone and iPod touch. On the short side, I see coming to the iPhone as an app to allow quick browsing of documents. In an ideal world, Apple will eventually build lightweight mobile versions of its iWork apps to allow users to create and edit Pages, Keynote and Numbers files on the go.

I believe we’ll see an update to the “beta” of, including a paid plan if Apple deems the project a huge success, or inclusion with MobileMe if Apple feels the product isn’t strong enough to stand on its own footing.

All three applications will see new templates and a refined Inspector palette. It seems very un-Apple like to mandate users bring up a palette for colors, a separate one for fonts, another for media and yet another master Inspector to control everything else. Additionally, I predict the Media Browser will be updated across all apps to support Faces and Places from iPhoto.

I also predict Pages will provide support for (or perhaps work directly with) third-party applications like bibliographic software such as Endnote or Refworks for academic publications.


Probability: Guaranteed
iTunes is an interesting application as every version seems to bring about a large number of extra features that many people don’t expect, or at first glance, really need.

I predict the next major version of iTunes, iTunes 10, will bring support for syncing with the mythical iTablet, as well as better syncing support (including over the air syncing of content if on a Wi-Fi network). Furthermore, iTunes 10 should feature better support for managing larger libraries of content and the need to split those libraries across multiple hard drives in a simple but effective manner.


Finally, I’d like to see iWork and iLife dropping in price back to the familiar $49 from years past. In light of economic conditions and Apple’s vocal attempts of providing quality products to more and more users, a price drop seems wise as it would also help generate better market penetration.

Again, many of these predictions are pure speculation and hopes and dreams on my part. What do you think we’ll see in these areas over the coming year?

24 Responses to “Predicting 2010: iLife, iWork & iTunes”

  1. I’d love the ability to do animation and rollovers in iWeb.
    Something along the lines of Keynote would be fun to use.
    Plus, having the ability to use HTML5 to embed video clips ( as I’d love to move away from Flash).

    I would love to see an updated iDVD. Something with more options and the ability to tweak a bit more.
    DVD studio pro is great, but sometimes you just don’t want to spend too much time on a project.
    Plus, for people without great internet access in many parts of the world, DVDs are the only viable option.
    and… bring on the Blue Ray!

  2. How about renaming iDVD to iDisc? LOL, it sounds like some 80s gimmicky camera.

    I’m dying for an update to iMovie that gives the user better control over the titles (fonts, colors, backgrounds) and allows the video effects to be controlled.

  3. i suspect that ilife 2010 may also include software akin to MS Onenote in order to facilitate notetaking on the iSlate, thus expanding its potential purpose from solely an entertainment device (browsing, games, etc) to a more rounded tool.
    Indeed, islate may actually be the application rather than the device itself….


  4. I’d definitely like to see additional editing tools in iPhoto. I like having all my photos in one place so don’t really want to have to go to Photoshop to do simple editing.

    I’d like to see some focusing tools to add depth, greater control over vignetting, ability to add subtle gradient overlays to enhance skies etc.

    I don’t expect Photoshop like tools, but just a few more that relate directly to enhancing photos simply.

    Any one else got any thoughts on that?

  5. I don’t see an update until mid-2010 at the earliest (unfortunately), especially if the (likely) prediction that it’ll only support Snow Leopard is true, that would buy Apple more time for Snow Leopard to get into the market.

    I don’t see a lot of new features for iPhoto X/2010, but rather refinements to the new Faces/Places events. iPhoto ’09 added some big, big features that aren’t necessarily all that stable. I suspect they’ll be geared up to take advantage of Grand Central and 64 bit, both options that could net huge performance improvements for those types of features. Gosh is Faces/Places *slooow* and crashy.

    I’ve always thought that when Apple thought iWork was matured enough they’d release a Windows version of it. This would actually be an ideal trojan horse for Apple in the mixed-office environment. Do I see that happening this year? Not really, but one can hope. I suspect they’ll start to add more semantic features, such as automatic figure numbering, to Pages, to fill in the less common feature holes. I’ve been hoping for OpenDocument support from Pages for years, so that I can at least remain collaborative with my Windows counterparts, but it’s becoming increasingly and frustratingly apparent that OpenDocument may well be a non-starter standard, especially since the largest two implementations are either buggy (MS Office) or have an uncertain future (OpenOffice under Oracle/Sun). It’s possible that we could see better support for OOXML, but it seems that the concept of a univeral, open, Office document spec has lost its steam.

    I agree about the mobile apps. If Apple does start putting more focus on broadening the reach of iWork, certainly in context with a potential iPhone OS Tablet later in the year where mobile prodictivity apps are practically a requirement.

    I hadn’t considered the iDVD/iTunes Extras thing to be terribly valid, but the more I think about it the more I realize that it may be. Heck, I can see Apple nixing the iDVD product and rolling those features directly into iMovie. Speaking of iMovie, I also see it getting back more of the advanced features that it lost with the prior upgrade. I would also expect to see some integration between iMovie and iWeb since Apple in its media-oriented view is focusing on HTML5 video with H.264.

  6. iWeb needs to update their blog functionality to compete better with Blogger and WordPress for 2010. I switched my blog from iWeb to Blogger, see my post on my blog about this. Switching between iWeb templates never worked well and not enough customization is allowed.

    iPhoto’s latest update has helped speeding the response times of the app. Also uploading to the photo gallery on MobileMe has improved. If Apple can improve the performance even more that would be great for 2010.

    Better conversion by iWork docs to MS Office docs would be great for 2010 now that there are open standards for office docs.

  7. It is interesting to speculate on any upgrades to Front Row. It would really be nice if Front Row evolved into a complete large screen (TV) interface for all iTunes content. Feature I would like to see would include the ability to purchase content and view rented movies.

    Since there do not seem to be any technical barriers to enhancing Front Row, I wonder if licensing restrictions between Apple and the studios are limiting the addition of new capabilities.

  8. This afternoon I received an e-mail request from Apple to complete a survey about iWork. It was designed by a professional online survey company and took about ten minutes to complete. A lot of questions dealt with specific uses and with compatibility with other suites, including online ones like Google Docs. There were also specific questions about what I’d want added to Pages. (I mentioned indexing and working with Bookends bibliographic software.)
    The timing of the questionnaire struck me, since iWork and iLife updates tend to come early in the calendar year.

  9. iPhoto can recognize faces, knows where the eyes are (for red-eye repairing) and so should be able to know the orientation of a photo. At least, if there are people in it. I would buy the upgrade if it only had this one feature:

    Auto-Rotate images!

    It irks me when I have to rotate many images. I know the tools are already there, at least for images with people in them. I hope somehow this feature request gets noticed.

    • iPhoto does auto-rotate images if your camera contains an accelerometer, if not then it keeps them as landscape orientation.

      they should be able to determine the correct orientation of images though. considering what they can do, auto-rotate can’t be that difficult….can it?

    • Robin Kanters

      Like when there are an (obvious) sky and/or or recognizable objects like cars in them?
      It would be a nice feature, but my guess is that Apple is willing to take this even further… In some kinda Apple-way…