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Thursday, January 05, 2006, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Apple\'s iLife suite may gain Web tools

A slip-up on Apple Computer's website on Thursday revealed that the Mac maker may be prepping a new version of its iLife digital life style suite that will include a Web design application.

iLife '06 with iWeb

Just before noon on Thursday, the company's Garageband and Support websites displayed links to non-existent iLife '06 product pages and listed "iWeb" as one of its included applications. Released last year at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, iLife '05 — the current version of the suite — includes only iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, GarageBand, and iTunes.

Sources had previously told AppleInsider that Apple was preparing to introduce a new Web design application during next week's Macworld Expo, which would integrate with the company's .Mac suite of Internet services.

The Web application, referred to as "Webpages 1.0" by AppleInsider sources, is said to draw heavily from components in Apple's "Pages" application to provide easy drag-and-drop capability for a variety of Web-optimized content and media types.

If Webpages and iWeb are one and the same, users of the application should be able to drag and drop everything from pictures and movies to widgets, iCal calendars and iTunes playlist into pre-designed Web page templates.

The application will reportedly bundle a set predefined modules with specific behaviors, such as: blank webpage; photo album; photo slideshow; movie album; blog; forms; comments; custom code (HTML & PHP) and; secure zone (https + authentication).

Enhancing .Mac

Members of Apple's .Mac Internet services may be able to purchase domain names (.com, .net, and .org) directly from within the Web application, sources have said. Alternatively, the application will allow quick and simple Web site publishing through a member's existing .Mac Web space.

"iWeb
Apple reportedly set out to design the new Web application in a way that it would enhance its consumer software offerings and drive subscriptions to its .Mac internet services (which it hopes will reach 1 million users sometime this year).

In an effort to provide better value against a plethora of free services on the Internet — including those offered by Internet giants such as Google and Yahoo! — the company may also slash the yearly .Mac subscription fee from $99.95 to an appeal price of $69.95, sources added.

To support the new Web application and its many features, .Mac is also expected to receive a slight upgrade to support PHP and SQL. Additionally, sources say the Web application may provide more custom options—including pre- and user-defined templates—for all Web pages published to users' .Mac accounts through iMovie and iPhoto.

iWork '06?

While sources have yet to offer details on upgrades to other iLife '06 applications, they say the company has been working to create a more consistent look and feel between all of its iLife digital lifestyle applications. Similarly, Apple has also been working on an update to its relatively new iWork productivity suite, which has not met with as much success as the company had hoped.

If reports are accurate, Apple had originally planned to introduce the Pages-based Web application (Webpages 1.0) as content creation software in iWork '06, but recently changed its mind to favor the digital lifestyle market.

iWork '06 is still expected to pack at least one new application, an Apple-branded spreadsheet application dubbed Numbers 1.0, along with updates to Pages and Keynote.

Word of the iLife '06 slip-up on Apple's Garageband Web site first appeared on the AppleInsider.com forums.