PC Magazine review gives Apple iWork ‘06 four stars out of five

“For word processing, the Apple iWork ’06 Pages program is no match for Microsoft Word or ThinkFree Office 3.0. But it’s capable, and its ability to create gorgeous documents easily is unequaled on the Mac,” Galen Fott writes in his review for PC Magazine.

Among his “pros,” Fott lists, “3D charts and calculations in tables. Enhanced shape tools. Image-adjustment controls. Gorgeous templates and themes, along with many other enhancements.”

Fott’s “cons” include, “No spreadsheet application. The word-processing component of the Pages application isn’t as powerful as Microsoft Word. No upgrade pricing.”

“Performance on a PowerMac G5 Quad, an iBook G4, and an Intel-based iMac was satisfactorily speedy on my tests. Compatibility with Word and PowerPoint files isn’t without the occasional hitch, but Pages could stand on its own as a complementary page-layout program for Word devotees. Indeed, until the day that the rumored spreadsheet application materializes, Apple might do well to split iWork into two separately sold programs,” Fott writes.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jennifer” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple’s iWork ‘07 Pages to feature significant improvements – July 10, 2006
RUMOR: ‘Charts’ spreadsheet software coming to Apple iWork in ‘07 – July 05, 2006
Where’s Apple iWork’s spreadsheet? – February 01, 2006
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


  1. The four stars out of five seems quite fair. Granted, iWork is a new-ish application suite that does not include all the features of Word. However, to put as a con, “no upgrade pricing” is ludicrous. For $79 for a suite of applications, whaddaya want? Word is outlandishly priced when purchased separately. And even the entire Office suite is a ripoff when purchased in a non-volume scenario.

    If they added a spreadsheet app and charged $79 for the *upgrade* this guy probably wouldn’t have anything to say. LOL.

    Seems like an incredible value to me.

  2. As an MBA student, I’ve been dying to show one of my classes what a Keynote presentation looks like. I finally managed to do a class presentation with Keynote (it was a matter of reassuring the campus IT people that it wouldn’t cause any problems with their digital projector and source management hardware in the classroom.) My classmates and my professor were amazed. They didn’t exactly know what they were looking at, however. The prof asked me afterwards, “Is that some fancy new Powerpoint template or something?”

    I’ve got an old Rev 1 of Keynote. I’ve been thinking of buying the iWork package, but honestly, without a spreadsheet or a database app (ala Access, which I’m ashamed to admit that I enjoy using) I don’t want to spend even the $79 for iWork. If they enhance the package with just one more package, I’ll upgrade and start working with Pages. I use Word professionally on a daily basis, and I would love to be able to use something as slick looking as Pages, but I need document automation (<Fields> are a must when trying to do large docs efficiently in a small office.)

  3. Seems fair to me, it’s certainly not perfect by any means but offers (in Pages) a perfectly good alternative to word for the light user.

    My only real gripe is that I don’t think they work as well on smaller screens, say 15″ or below. Once you have an inspector window open, font etc you run out of space. Just a minor thing for me really.

    I do like the idea of a more word processor like input view (if you see what I mean) as an option though. A spreadsheet app, even one that built upon the charting and calculational aspects already in iWork would be nice as well.

  4. iWork needs a drawing app too worse than a spreadsheet. A paint/draw app with layers would be a great addition and add tremendous value to iWork. Keynote and Pages content creation could both benefit. I’d like a spreadsheet module in the suite (in addition to MacPaint and MacDraw) so it would really be a replacement for AppleWorks.

    iWork version 1 was totally underwhelming and caused me to pass on the second version, third times the charm?

    By the way, MS Office Student Teacher edition is selling for under $100 (see Macintouch website for Amazon links), includes 3 licenses and the apps are full featured versions of MS bloatware. You don’t need to be a student or teacher to buy them, no ID required. There’s no printed documentation included. I bought the package a year ago for my daughter who is a pre-med student but we only installed it on her iMac. I’m working on setting a personal record for being free of MS products, 3.5 years and counting.

    Yes, there is computer life without MS.

  5. Uhhhh, a little slow aren’t we, PC Magazine? iWork came out 6 months ago! You’re just reviewing it now?

    Lazy European,
    What processor does your G4 have? I have a 1.5 GHz Powerbook with 1GB of RAM and Pages works fine on it. No stutters or delays. It opens a little slowly, but it’s manageable.

  6. Tergenev,
    You NEED to get Keynote 3!!! The difference from version 1 is like night and day! I give ~10 lectures per year to medical residents on Keynote and they are always blown away. I see many slack jaws, looks of disbelief, and even the occasional “Holy Shit!”

  7. I like Pages and dumped Word ever since I got iWork’05. It satifies all my editing needs. + I like the Apple-ish look and behaviour of Pages – it does not maximize to full screen. The only problem wiht Pages is that it does not properly recognize and convert marked-up Word docs.

  8. Personally, I think of Pages as a new kind of application, more of a page layout program for non-professionals than a word processing program. Using Pages for simple word processing is like using Photoshop for a simple slideshow—major overkill. Since TextEdit isn’t full-featured enough to really work as a word processor (no columns, for instance), Apple currently ships all Mac computers without a word processing application, which makes absolutely no sense. AppleWorks with an aqua interface and a decent type engine would work for me.

  9. I hope they add some kind of embedded spreadsheet function like AppleWorks has had since ClarisWorks came out… in … 1991?

    ClarisWorks History Lesson:

    I don’t really see what’s wrong with AppleWorks. Except for the fact that it hasn’t seen any full-blown upgrades, aside for a few bug fixes, since version 3 or 4. I even used the OpenDoc version briefly, when Cyberdog roamed the Mac universe.

    Yes, it’s a bit clunky at this point, but with a serious upgrade and making it make it take FULL advantage of ALL of Mac OS X, it could STILL be a contender! Really, why toss out a simple, powerful and perfectly serviceable product, just because? I know it’ll never happen…

    Can Pages translate and Open AppleWorks documents? I hope so, since i’ve got ALL of my important documents in AppleWorks format.

  10. Can Pages translate and Open AppleWorks documents? I hope so, since i’ve got ALL of my important documents in AppleWorks format.

    Yes, it can, as long as they’re AppleWorks 6 docs. If not, you’ve got to open them in AppleWorks 6 and save them to be able to open them in Pages.

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