Wednesday, January 19

Apple's iWork not so "i"

Been thinking about Apple's new iWork software , mainly because I'll take any remotely plausible excuse to drop Microsoft Office for an alternative. Office and I have only come to work together productively after more than a decade of clashing heads, and really, it's me that's learned to work with Office, not the other way around.

Sadly, iWork isn't a replacement for Microsoft Office, because it only includes a word processor, Pages, and an upgraded version of Keynote, the presentation software I already own.

Yes, Pages has some cool features, and sure, I get the feeling it would probably take me less time to learn than a new version of Word. I'm even reasonably confident that Pages would learn to work with me, rather than the other way around. But without a trial version of Pages or iWork available to download, I'm not interested enough to invest the time to see. Swapping word processors is akin to changing religions when you're a writer, and I really need a limited-time demo version from Apple before I'm prepared to invest the time in evaluating it. Why doesn't Apple ever offer trial version of its software? It must be the only major software vendor yet to do it.

Some more questions: why hasn't Apple offered me an upgrade from Keynote to iWorks yet? Or even an upgrade from the previous version of Keynote to the new version of Keynote? The $199 retail price for iWorks is quite cheap compared to most office productivity software, but it's still $199 I don't really have a good reason to spend. How about a $99 upgrade offer?

One last, very important question: why isn't the cosy Microsoft/Apple relationship threatened by the release of iWork, when most Mac users own a copy of Microsoft Office, and when Microsoft Office is a very profitable and growing area of business for Microsoft?

Sadly, the answer is very simple: unlike Microsoft Office, iWorks doesn't include a spreadsheet application. Microsoft Excel remains unchallenged on Mac OSX as well as Windows. And very few customers - me included - will buy iWorks when we already own a copy of Microsoft Office. Bill's position on the Mac is still secure. What a bummer!

Buy content through ScooptWords