The New York Times says Apple has been working on a multitouch version of their iWork office suite -- Pages word processor, Numbers spread sheet, and Keynote presentations -- for their rumored upcoming iTablet/iSlate, along with complex gestures based on technology they acquired from Fingerworks.

“The tablet should offer any number of unique multitouch experiences — for example, three fingers down and rotate could mean ‘open an application,’ ” said one former engineer, who asked not to be named because Apple demands secrecy from all current and former employees.

Sounds a little complex and obtuse from a company whose success to date has been primarily based on simplicity, but Apple could feel multitouch has been introduced well enough by the iPhone, trackpads, and even the Magic Mouse that users could now handle more complex gestures. We'd imagine, however, that the more complex the gesture, the more complex the function it's intended to invoke -- meaning average users could stick to the simple stuff.

Another former Apple designer said a team at the company had “spent the past couple of years working on a multitouch version of iWork,” Apple’s answer to Microsoft’s Office software suite. This could indicate that Apple wants the tablet to be a fully functional computer, rather than a more passive device for reading books and watching movies.

It also makes us think a multitouch version of iWork would be just great on the iPhone and iPod touch as well (right Apple?)

For their part, 9to5mac p the previous rumors about Apple seeking engineers for an online iWork WebApp. An integrated offering with local and server storage and access, perhaps?