Where’s Apple iWork’s spreadsheet?

“Let us speculate that Microsoft’s recent decision to formally promise to support Office for the Mac for at least the next five years is not an example of Bill Gates’ altruism,” Garry Barker reports for The Sydney Morning Herald. “Rather, some suppose, it was a device to slow further development of iWork, Apple’s new word processor and presentation suite. This may be totally unfair to Microsoft, and as a long-time user of Office:mac I have to say I find it an excellent suite, worth the money and I would like support for it to continue. On the other hand, some mild surprise was expressed in the more geek-strewn corners at Macworld Expo last month when iWork ’06 appeared without the third component some had expected, a spreadsheet. Rumours, and they are nothing more, suggest that Apple is working on an Excel competitor with a codename of either Cells or Numbers.”

“As we expect from Apple software, iWork ’06 is stylish and stronger than Office in its ability to manage graphics, type and layout… in its second incarnation, Pages can provide pretty much anything average users of a word processor might require, as well as a lot of layout stuff, some of which you might be able to do in Word, but the achieving of which would turn you into a mental pretzel. The package contains 40-odd handsome templates to produce professional-looking, modern or traditional newsletters, flyers and even, I would think, a small magazine,” Barker writes. “Keynote, now in its third version, is a full generation ahead of PowerPoint with many more effects such as the pretty water droplet transition you see in Dashboard and a heap of themes (I detect the influence of iDVD here). Like Pages 2, it can be closely integrated with the iLive ’06 suite so that photographs and video clips can be easily added to a presentation.”

Full article here.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Boston Herald: Apple’s iWork ’06 upgrades ‘really sweet’ – January 31, 2006
Apple announces iWork ’06 with 3-D charts, advanced image editing tools & spreadsheet-like tables – January 10, 2006
RUMOR: Apple working on spreadsheet application called ‘Numbers’ for iWork – June 16, 2005
Washington Times: Apple’s iWork should make Microsoft’s Bill Gates a ‘bit uncomfortable’ – January 18, 2005

34 Comments

  1. Doesn’t AppleWorks have a spreadsheet? Making Numbers Excel-compatible would be a bitch of a job. Making Numbers less powerful than Excel would be like launching the Motorola iTunes phone. Was it the ROKR? I can’t even remember!

    The trick is to make it as powerful (if not more) but more intuitive to use.

  2. I tried the spreadsheet function in Pages and it didn’t work for me, so it’s back to Excel for a while.

    I don’t think the MS agreement had anything to do with it. I believe the MS agreement was to ensure they got better warning and information on things Apple was working on. The Intel announcement caught them with their pants down and they wanted to avoid that in the future.

    I believe we’ll see Numbers and FileMaker Jr. when they are ready and Steve is happy with them. There was a huge demand on Apple’s programming resources in 2005 and the spreadsheet & database had a lower priority. Hopefully this year they will be able to allocate the resources on these two apps – a good reason to buy iWork 07.

  3. Personally I could never conceive of doing anything in PowerPoint. And while I’m sure Keynote is cool, when I do need to do a presentation I’ll use my InDesign/Acrobat combo.

    Word annoys me to no end, but I still use it. If they would just port Word 5.1 to OS X that would make me endlessly happy. Maybe Pages is a world beater, but I ain’t gonna spend dollar one to find out.

    I use Entourage for email. I wish it integrated better with iCal and AddressBook, but I can work around that with Apple Script. After a decade of enjoying Outlook Express and Entourage after that I’m hard pressed to switch to Mail.

    But let’s get to the crux of this thread: Excel. Excel is one of only two programs that Microsoft ever created from scratch (the now bloated Word being the other). It was originally created for the Mac, and 20 years later it still shows. It feels like Mac software. Excel is the one thing I can never find fault with Microsoft on (well we could remove the 65,000 row limitation couldn’t we?). It is a great piece of software, fast, stable, bug, and bloat free.

    Maybe Apple has Numbers or Cells in it’s pocket. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it had bugs in it and Steve sent it back to the QA labs for repair. I don’t know why Apple doesn’t just break out the spreadsheet, drawing, and database components of Apple Works and complete iWork.

    But even if they did, I’d still use Excel, it is truly a god amongst software programs.

  4. Earth to Apple: if you’re worried about competing with Microsoft in the world of spreadsheets and you want to offer a lower-end product that can read and write Excel files and you STILL don’t want to compete head-on with Excel… Just upgrade AppleWorks!

    Apple Works, works.
    PLUS, it’s all there NOW. There’s even a Windows version that sold pretty well.

    Add some features, support more graphics formats, work to integrate it with iLife applications, Safari and Mail… then FULLY support OS X and you’re done!

    Apple, just do it!

  5. Like Naraa Haras said, I agree totally (but who cares anyway ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    Apple, please make Filemaker Apple style so we and our worklers wouldn’t have to deal with FM’s aweful interface and I WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT, APPLE!

    All the way!

    MBN word “Police”: as in call the police to arrest Mafiasoft for … you know what!

  6. Additional thought: Apple could just be waiting for M$ to release the XML office so that they can create a spreadsheet that reads the two open formats and dispenses with all proprietary binary formats.

  7. Apple should acquire “Mesa” from “P&L Systems” – a wonderful, powerful spreadsheet still around from the NeXt days. Put that in iWork and it would be killer.

    While they’re at it they should pick up the old NeXt photo editor “Tiffany.”

  8. Apple owns Filemaker, but Filemaker is still a separate company. They need to be treated separately. Apple wouldn’t want to ruin Filemaker, but they could buy them back.

    Options exist of course. The point is, most people probably agree that Excel is a great spreadsheet program. People seem to agree that they’d like something more simple and Mac-like. Something that would fit with iWorks and iLife.

    My point is that a spreadsheet does not fit in the iLife/iWorks paradigm. Where’s the iLife content? A drag-and-drop database application would fit though. Create a team roster for little league. Drop iPhotos on each kid’s profile, then drop the database on iWeb and publish it. BOOM! you’ve got a data-drive web site. Click the announce button and all your little leaguers can subscribe to it.

    Now create a database for league games, include player stats and video clips. Publish that with iWeb and BOOM! Everyone gets an update after every game. You can export your data to a spreadsheet program like Excel, or you can view the data in a spreadsheet view. Images and video would be indicated with a symbol.

    You would be so greatly admired by all the little league moms and dads.

  9. Until a spreadsheet and robust email/contact management programs are added, it will continue to be a joke. Everyone is talking spreadsheet, but what about something comparable to Entourage or Outlook? Mac Mail app is not much better or full-featured than MS Outlook Express for 1998. Holding back iWork’s potential is clearly to appease Microsoft. One stinking choice for an Office Suite from Microsoft remains of our greatest obstacles to freedom. iWork ain’t no stinking suite; it’s TWO apps, one of which hardly anyone at home would use. It makes no sense. This is all about the freaking Microsoft chess game. I don’t see Apple doing anything great with iWork anytime soon. Oh, and the new table calculation thingee integrated into Pages? Give me a break!!! Right now iWork is dead in the water, but alas, I will buy it anyway being the good little Machead I am I am.

  10. Hey Macslut and all you Apple freaks:

    I have been using NeoOffice for two years and this suite does a good job of replacing Office:mac. If you are looking for a simple spreadsheet, word processor, etc. NeoOffice can do the job. It is OpenOffice written for OS X interface, and doesn’t require X11 or XDarwin to run.

    Check it out if you haven’t already:
    http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/15797

    Even if Apple does get around to releasing Numbers, they still need to integrate these programs with iCal, Mail, Address Book, iLife and iSync.

    So don’t expect it this year.

  11. I’m with the conspiracy crowd. I even said it right here in these forums only a few days after Steve Job’s keynote address – Apple kept a spreadsheet out of iWork ’06 just to appease Microsucks. The availability of a Macintosh version of Office is the single biggest make-or-break point in a potential Windoze switcher’s mind. The average Winblows user out there has far lower computer skills and knowledge about computers than the average poster on MDN’s website and Apple knows it. They would choose to NOT switch just because they can’t have their little security blanket – Office. Sad but true.

    P.S. Why are the words “Windows” and “Microsoft” so easy to rip and riff on?

    Examples: Windoze, Winblows, Microsucks, Micro$oft, Micropenis, etc.

    What do PC-heads call Apple? Apple-Schmapple???

    We win that battle, too.

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

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