“Last week, Apple brought out a new spreadsheet program called Numbers, thus completing one of its least-known products: a productivity suite called iWork. The iWork ‘08 suite, which competes with the Macintosh version of Microsoft Office, also includes a word-processing program called Pages and a presentation program called Keynote. The two were upgraded last week. IWork costs $79, about half the price of the lowest-cost version of Microsoft Office, which sells for $149,” Walt Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.
“iWork ‘08 is a nice product, capable of turning out sophisticated and attractive word-processing, presentation and spreadsheet documents. It can even read Microsoft Office documents, whether created on the Mac or on Windows computers, and can save documents in Microsoft Office formats so they can be opened in Office on the Mac or on Windows,” Mossberg reports.
“But iWork simply isn’t as powerful or versatile as Microsoft Office, especially when it comes to word processing and spreadsheets. And it suffers from a design that places far more emphasis on making documents look beautiful than on the nuts and bolts of the actual process of writing and number-crunching,” Mossberg reports.
“If you’re a Mac user with basic word-processing and spreadsheet needs, and a strong emphasis on design, iWork is good choice, especially if perfect compatibility with Microsoft Office isn’t a high priority. But for office-suite users more concerned with function than form, I’d recommend sticking with Office,” Mossberg reports.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: What Uncle Walt fails to realize – or perhaps just forgets to mention – is that the vast majority of Mac users (and all computer users, for that matter) would do far better with iWork ’08 than Microsoft Office.
This is a point we are not willing to cede to Mossberg or anybody else because it goes just the same for the Mac vs. Windows PC: the vast majority of people would do far better with a Mac than with Microsoft Windows.
If people used iWork instead of MS Office, they would be faster, more productive, less frustrated, and create far better output. If you need MS Office’s esoteric, obscure features you are in the minority. If you need “perfect compatibility” with MS Office, then you are a victim of lock-in or you’re dealing with someone who either doesn’t know what they are doing, are victims of Microsoft lock-in themselves, or who are, again, in the minority using obscure features.
You should not need Word to read/write a word processing file. You should not need Excel to read/write a spreadsheet file. And, if you have a Mac, you should not even be using PowerPoint.
All of our Excel spreadsheets, including functions (admittedly, they are relatively normal expense, billing, etc. spreadsheets) have been flawlessly converted to Numbers. We do not use Excel. All of our Word documents (admittedly, they are relatively normal business letters, invoices, etc. documents) have been flawlessly converted to Pages (long ago). We do not use Word. And, Keynote wipes the floor with PowerPoint.
We email .pdf first and only bother exporting .xls, .doc, or .ppt files when requested (such requests have all but dried up over the last few years).
Again, while we do respect Mossberg’s opinion, you have to weigh a product’s value based upon the typical user’s needs, not the needs of a relatively atypical few.
Does Apple have more work to do on iWork? Yes, of course. That’s unending. But, Mossberg’s review comes off limiting iWork to too small an audience. Too many people will take Mossberg’s “perfect compatibility with Microsoft Office” comment and “wimpy” hyperbole and mistakenly conclude that iWork won’t work for them. In more cases than not, iWork will work “perfectly” with Office files and perform better for Mac users than Microsoft Office.
iWork is more capable and will work for more users than Mossberg’s review implies.
Hey, don’t take our word for it, iWork can speak for itself. Give Apple’s free 30-day iWork ’08 trial a try and see for yourself.