What’s Happened to iWork?


iWork, Apple’s own productivity suite for Macs, and a cheaper and more “Mac-like” product compared to Microsoft’s Office:Mac suite, was a popular choice for many new and veteran Mac users who didn’t require the bloated feature set of Microsoft’s offering. However, the last time a proper version was released was back in 2009. That’s three years ago.

In that time, we’ve had new iPhones, iMacs, MacBooks, and even a completely new device – the iPad (which had a revision of its own in that space of time). But no new version of iWork. In contrast, Microsoft’s released a new version of Office:Mac, bringing it more in-line with what the current generation of productivity apps are all about – specifically, cloud computing.

Sure, Apple’s got iCloud, but what us Mac users yearn for is an improved iWork. New features. Improvements on what’s already there. In short, a productivity suite that’s more 2012, and less 2009.

iWork Update

And, with the Mac App Store, it makes it even easier for Apple to release new versions of the iWork apps. There’s no need to worry about stylish packaging; simply uploading them to the store, at favorable prices, ensures their stake in the productivity faction of Mac software. Sure, I understand that iOS is their flagship product line, but Cupertino mustn’t forget about their core customers – the Mac users.

Mac is in Apple’s DNA; it’d be a shame to just let it fall to the sideline. We’ve seen, with OS X Lion, how the two product lines (iOS and OS X) can symbiotically exist; let’s just hope that Apple will continue this relationship.

Keynote, the presentation app in the trio, is, in my opinion, far superior to PowerPoint. I’ve used it on numerous occasions, from small to large-scale projects and presentations, with exceptional results. But if Apple remains as complacent as they currently are, it may begin to lag behind the very program it’s out to best.

Numbers is certainly no Excel killer, but I think I speak for many Mac users who require an intuitive and lightweight spreadsheet app without the complexity of Excel, when I say that there’s certainly room for improvement in this app.

Then there’s Pages; in fact, I’m writing this blog post in Pages. It’s been my go-to app for both word processing and myriad desktop publishing projects. I love its ease of use and excellent typography features; but, again, we need an update. We need more features that bring it in-line with what’s out there from the competition.

So, given that we’re in a new year now, I do hope that Apple gives their productivity suite the much-needed refresh that it deserves. What’s your thoughts on iWork? Let me know in the comments section below.

  • nev

    More to the point is – what happened to iWork.com? What’s stopping Apple reworking the “share to iWork.com” functionality of iWork desktop apps to be via iCloud? Am I missing something here?

  • Rahul Dowlath

    Those are both interesting comments, thank you! I agree that iWork is no longer a “priority project”, and can expect it to remain that way as Apple moves up and out to expand its iOS and Mac-related operations. @Tyus, positioning Pages as a competitor to InDesign would be quite cool. I guess we’ll have to just see what 2012 has in store for us…

  • Tyus

    I actually think Apple will completely redo Pages as a direct competitor to inDesign. With digital publications taking off Apple will present Pages as the default digital publishing and ePub editor.

  • joe anderssen

    Its simple: iWork is not a priority because it doesn’t make any money. It has a small market share even among hardcore Apple fans. Like iWeb it was a vanity product loved by some but without commercial success.

    Especially now, that Steve is gone – Apple will concentrate increasingly on mass-appeal products and neglect vanity products.

    I expect an update to iWork – don’t think it will be dropped like iWeb – but it’s not on the top of the list for Apple.

    Joe

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