Apple to Launch iRoots, iRoots Pro Genealogy Applications in 2007?

Could Apple be getting into the genealogy software and DNA testing market?



“What you have from left to right, is you have their name, their birthdate, birthplace, and a surety rating – measuring how confident you are that the information in the person’s record is accurate….

Also, just like iTunes, all of the columns are sortable – that is you can sort your genealogy data by surname, birthdate, location, etc. You can also only display the data/columns you want to display – there are columns for date of death, marriage, military service, and there are expanded columns for the full birthdate, etc. All of these columns can be dragged back and forth to display the data you want to see in the order you want to see.

As you can see, you can highlight one person, click a button, and instantly their immediate family is highlighted/selected, and everything is drag and drop. You can drag these families to folders that are like the smart playlists in iTunes”.

This quote can’t be verified as having been said by Steve Jobs : “Music and genealogy have a lot in common. Actually they don’t, but anyways, for those who question this decision, do you remember when we decided we’d go into an already established and mature market in which we had no products, the portable music player market? Remember how people thought we were crazy? Ever heard of the iPod? That’s the kind of impact that iRoots will have on the genealogy market. ”

From what our sources have said, It’s expected to have extensive integration with iPhoto as well as have iPhoto like features, including the ability to automatically have your genealogy data formatted for books and wall charts, which are then ordered through iRoot’s online ordering service (similar to iPhoto’s photo book and print service). I’m looking forward to the iRoots Calendar – it’s similar to the photo calendars that you can order through iPhoto, but it lists the birthdays of all of your ancestors.

It’s also integrated with iWeb and .Mac, to allow you to automatically publish genealogy information on your website as well. As a matter of fact, this is rumored to have been stripped out of iLife ’06 at the last minute due to some problems with the iWeb and .Mac integration. Using iSync, it syncs up with your iPod so that you always have your genealogy data on the go (and if you have a video or photo iPod, it’ll push all of the video and photos associated with your data to your iPod as well).

Apparently there will be two versions of iRoots, one, the “Express” version, will ship with iLife ’07. This one would have shipped with iLife ’06. It’s limited to 2,000 people, 10 photos, 3 hours of audio, and one hour of video per person, .

The “iRoots Pro” version is limited only by your Mac’s memory and harddrive space, and adds full photo, audio, and video editing capabilities. It ships seperately. Among other things, it can suggest who and what you should research, based on how interesting it thinks the people will be. It has the ability to fill in missing gaps in your genealogy as well as break through brickwalls. For example, If you don’t know your GGGG-Great Aunt Mary’s husband’s name, it can actually suggest what the name probably was, based on the popularity of names of men who lived in the area at the time. The “Pro” version also has the ability to fill in parts of the 1890 census that are relevant to your family, if you have the iDNA kit mentioned below.

I thought this feature was a little strange:

Another nice feature, is if you are online, you can have iRoots go out to a central site and compare your information with other people’s information. iRoots will then suggest other families from other iRoots’ users that closely resemble your own, and with the click of a button, all of that information can automatically be added to your genealogy informatin in iRoots, including full integration with your main research tree.

Sources also said that Apple was considering a hardware add-on, a “iDNA” kit that allows you to test yourself and your family members’ DNA, and then the results are developed right there on your Mac, using a USB or Firewire-powered device about the size of the iSight. The results are automatically uploaded into iRoots. You can buy family sample packs, where you get 200 swabs and test tubes to send out to family members, and they are pre-packaged/pre-postage paid, and with just a few minutes of their time, they take the sample, and send them back to you to process through the “iDNA” hardware.

If you have the “iDNA Express”, you can process around 10-15 samples an hour. If you upgrade to “iDNA Studio”, you can process around 200 samples an hour (depending on whether you are running a Core Duo or Core Quad-powered Mac). No word on a package discount for “iDNA Studio” and “iRoots Pro” being purchased together.

Imagine how neat it would be when you get everyone’s attention at the family reunion, and announce the results of the DNA tests. Telling half of the people at the reunion that they aren’t really related to the other half would get a lot of attention – they’d want to know how you came to that conclusion, at which point you could proudly announce you did it all on a Mac.

This is an interesting development, and one to watch. They made iTunes cross-platform for Windows, wonder if they could do the same with iRoots, although you wouldn’t get the integration you get with other software while using it on a Mac.

No comment from, a website that provides “Web space and email forwarding for individuals and businesses involved in genealogy and local history research”.

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