Office for Mac 2011 will be releasing in just a few months’ time. It is a widely-anticipated upgrade to the industry-standard office suite for the Mac platform, and will be introducing, for the first time in this product, Outlook for Mac. This means that, finally, Apple computers can be taken “seriously” in the workplace, as they’re able to play nice with Microsoft Exchange servers.
But the real implication of this new Office version is certainly the fact that Apple’s iWork package – seen as a “competitor” of sorts to the Microsoft offering – is deeply threatened by Office 2011.
Let’s face it: Numbers vs. Excel: the clear winner in terms of power and performance is Excel. After all, it has had years to mature in the workplace, and is the trusted tool in a myriad number of offices to collect and sort large amounts of data. Numbers, on the other hand, is still an infant. Sure, it can make really pretty-looking documents, and I always enjoy using it to work on small data-related assignments for school, but I can never really see this tool being taken seriously in the workplace. For one, it doesn’t have an extensibility tool like Excel has (and will be re-introducing in Office 2011), in the form of Macros.
The one true contender in the wars between the productivity suites is certainly Keynote from Apple. It’s elegant, has stunning visual effects, and can let any die-hard Apple fanboy live out his fantasies of being Steve Jobs. But seriously, Keynote presentations are always a cut-above-the-rest when compared to PowerPoint counterparts. Intuitive features like controlling your show via an iPhone or iPod touch, great templates and captivating builds really help in accentuating a speech. I know first-hand, as I used this setup to present a 5-minute speech for English class last year, to great acclaim.
Apple really needs to shake-up its act concerning its iWork package. Over a year ago, iWork.com Beta was released, and it still only allows users to view documents, not create them, whereas Microsoft’s Office Live will be offering users the ability to actually edit files, taking on Google Docs head-on.
The way Apple can really succeed against Microsoft here is by designing apps that aren’t bloated and cluttered like Microsoft’s. Then, they need to take cross-platform file compatibility seriously; they can’t keep bluffing themselves that everybody only uses Macs. Because, surprise surprise, in the real world, PCs and Macs have to put their differences aside and try to work together.
So, I say, let the games begin. iWork or Office – pick your side.
I'm a young writer from South Africa, chronicling the changing tides in the ever-flowing river of technology. Focusing mainly on Apple-related technologies, I enjoy sharing my opinion and giving a few tips and tricks here and there on the latest and greatest from 1 Infinite Loop. I'm an avid blogger, and an even more avid reader.