Boston Herald: Apple’s iWork ‘06 upgrades ‘really sweet’

“With all the fuss over new hardware at the latest Apple Macworld in San Francisco earlier this month, it’s no surprise that software would be deprived its deserved attention. But Apple made some noteworthy improvements to a few super applications, so this week Inspecting Gadgets looks at a few of them,” Eric Convey writes for The Boston Herald. “Most interesting were the upgrades to iWork, Apple’s suite of productivity applications.”

“My favorite is Keynote, Apple’s answer to Microsoft PowerPoint. Both allow the easy creation of presentations using slides and all sorts of animated effects. With either, an amateur can achieve good results in only a little time. But with Keynote, that same amateur can achieve great results,” Convey writes. “Apple also released an updated version of Pages and called it — big surprise here — Pages 2. Pages already was a word-processing and page-design program with some very useful features. Probably the most significant addition is mail merge, making it very easy to bring addresses from Apple’s Address Book application into documents. Want to send the same letter to 100 people, with only the address and salutation different? It’s a breeze now.”

Full article “New software really sweet: Upgrades to iWork hit Keynote” here.

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12 Comments

  1. I definitely have to agree, iWork 06 IS a good update.
    In fact, for me it is a good update *because* it doesn’t offer hundreds of new features but lots of well designed detail enhancements.

  2. This was a needed upgrade for Pages. I still haven’t done a thorough tryout, but I hope the earlier issues have been addressed. I am looking forward to the full iWork release…had hoped it would have already been packaged this year. I would like to be able to fully transition to Pages. Version 1 wasn’t solid enough. I hope this is a significant step forward, er, ahead.

    MW: ahead

  3. Awesome Keynote upgrade. When Keynote was first came out I introduced it to our company for presentations (Previously they were hooked on Powerpoint). Since then we bought two Powerbooks and a video iPOD to make sales presentations (plus every upgrade and multiple licenses).

  4. wow!!!! Mail merge, finally. Except that I had this on Microsoft Write for my Atari ST 15+ years ago

    you know that Pages has only existed for about a year, right?

    what a stupid thing to say. Pages was released as a bare bones Word Processor/ rudimentary Desktop Publishing app last year. Of course it wouldn’t have stuff like Mail Merge.. now it does.. so.. we had to wait one whole version.. chill

  5. “Apple’s suite of productivity applications.”???????

    Did he say “suite”? Come on! No home user uses keynote, so that leaves Pages. When they add a spreadsheet and a robust mail/contact management app, then call it a “suite.” Pages does not a SUITE make! I just chuckle when I hear the term used. It’s 2 products. Count them, TWO!!! It’s a product so far behind in development, even AppleWorks makes it look anemic. It’s probably obvious, but I’m deeply disappointed with the intentional handicapping of this product as part of this counfounded chess match between Apple and Microsoft. I don’t like office. I really don’t. Entourage is a busy mess. The interfaces are unispired. If I don’t get a viable alternative soom, I’m going to have a meltdown. Please Apple, do something for heaven’s sake!!! Give us something!!! We’d shell out the money right freaking now. Ok, I feel better now.

  6. Say what you will about iWork, but for $79, Word costs $295. you get two very good quality applications. Appleworks is WAY long in the tooth. Have you tried opening a SLIGHTLY more complex Word doc in Appleworks? You get garbage. Pages handles Word docs SO SO SO much better than AW.

  7. I agree the upgrade is fantastic, albeit anemic.

    What really worries me is I have been in two Apple stores in the past couple of weeks, all within 30 minutes of the Apple HQ. Neither had iWork in stock. When I asked if they were sold out due to high demand, the response was simply that Apple didn’t ship the store than copies.

    I think, however, Apple doesn’t get it. Jobs is so convinced that Office cannot be unseated–which he is correct of course–that iWork does not get the proper attention it deserves.

    There is a market here for Apple. A big one. But Pages needs about 30-40 key features to replace Word, and Keynote needs about 15 more to be a true killer. (Although I would argue it is already a PowerPoint killer.)

    I hope it is as simple as Apple is just moving slowly and not trying to anger MS. They need MSOffice more than they need revenue from iWork.

    But I hope Apple thinks of iWork as not an office-based iLife for home use, but a design-forward office application of the future. There is an enormous market for this.

    In short, I was OK with anemic update this year and the lack of the spreadsheet since Apple did a 5 year deal with Microsoft to continue to MSOffice, so I am sure this was the politically correct thing to do.

    But I hope at MWSF 07, iWork is a major upgrade and a highlight of the show.

    Fingers crossed…

  8. > When they add a spreadsheet and a robust mail/contact management app, then call it a “suite.”

    OK, Mr. Smartypants, what would you have done, if you were Steve Jobs and Billyboy would have told you:”No spreadsheet in iWork 06 and Office for Mac will not be scrapped immediately”?

    > If I don’t get a viable alternative soom, I’m going to have a meltdown.

    You have a viable alternative. iCal/Mail/Address Book is a perfect combination. Then take Excel and erase the rest of office. With its Applescriptability there is no task imaginable that can’t be done with this Suite.

  9. Is it not possible to buy Excel by itself? Or is it priced unrealistically that way? Wouldn’t iWork and Excel be enough? Buy the Student-Teacher package of Office to save some money? No proof required that you are one of those, so I’ve heard.

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