iLife '11 Family Pack listing that appeared briefly on Amazon.com.

There seems to be a lot of confusion among online retailers about what most people believe to be the impending release of an updated iLife suite from Apple. Sharp eyed shoppers started noticing a few weeks ago that several overseas retailers were adding how-to books to their inventories that referenced iLife ’10 in their titles. That led many to speculate that Apple might announce an update to the iLife suite at their September media event. As we now know, Steve Jobs gave details for revamped iPods, an upgrade for the iOS firmware and a new version of iTunes but there was no mention of iLife.

Fast forward to this weekend and another observant shopper found a listing an Amazon.com for a Family Pack of the actual iLife software itself. This time, however, the title of the software was iLife ’11. This probably makes a lot more sense, given that Apple is not likely to release a software package this late in the year and have it tied to an old date for what is likely to be at least another year or year and a half. As soon as the listing started to attract attention though, Amazon pulled the listing. The only evidence now is the screenshot above that was published by TUAW.

These products constantly showing up in the inventories of major retailers brings to mind a few questions though.┬áNumber one, these are big companies and they are not likely to be adding items to their catalogs for no reason. The publishers too making the books that showed up first must have had some reason why they were putting together documentation for an iLife ’10 package. More importantly for us, when will Apple actually release the software and what will it do?

Since Amazon’s listing for the family pack had a standard 2-4 week shipping estimate and not a fixed release date sometime in th, I’d say it’s a safe bet that it will be released soon. As for what the update will bring, several persistent rumors have been bouncing around. One is that the iDVD application will be dropped from the package. Personally, I think this is unlikely, but maybe Apple senses a shift away from DVD media and intends to push users towards online storage or HD publishing via YouTube. It is also believed that the iWeb software has received a complete makeover.

The iLife component I’m most interested in and which has get to be addressed by any rumor that I’ve heard is GarageBand. iLife and GarageBand haven’t been updated since January 2009. I would like to think that an update will bring some goodies to the music recording and editing application, but for now only time will tell what that might be. At the very least, I’m hopeful they will pull in some advanced features from Logic.