Apple’s iPad, especially iWork for iPad, reveals the future of personal computing

“During [last week’s] iPad event, which largely played out just as the rumors foretold, Apple did do something unexpected: They unveiled a version of the word processing, spreadsheet and presentation suite iWork redesigned for the iPad’s 9.7-inch touchscreen. It’s easy to write off iWork’s inclusion as a minor perk only for business types only, but don’t. The suite’s fully-redesigned touch interfaces actually reveal more about Apple’s vision of the future of computing than any other element of their new tablet,” John Mahoney reports for Popular Science.

“I used each iWork app [during Apple’s hands-on session for the media after Steve Jobs’ presentation], and while I couldn’t spend enough time with them to come to a definitive conclusion, they definitely surprised me… each appeared more than capable of offering a similar, if not much improved experience, over their desktop counterparts,” Mahoney reports. “And for that, all credit is due to multitouch.”

“The apps, especially Keynote and Pages, function almost as light versions of far more advanced software like Adobe’s InDesign,” Mahoney reports. “PopSci’s art director probably won’t be ditching InDesign for an iPad any time soon, but having a large tablet of the future flat on a desktop could merge the benefits of working digitally with an interface that feels more like working with a pencil and paper.”

“This is significant. It’s the underlying concept behind all touchscreen interfaces–removing the mouse and pointer’s layer of abstraction to get us back to working with our hands. Most previous attempts at a more natural and expansive touch interface have been hampered by too small a screen or inelegant design,” Mahoney reports. “The iPad has neither.”

Mahoney reports, “And in choosing productivity apps as the first test case for these new interfaces, Apple is providing a familiar stepping stone into the world of interacting with nothing-but-touch in software we’ve been using for decades.”

Full article here.


  1. The end of M$ Office is niegh! Once people try out the iWork suite, they will never go back to M$ Office again unless they have no choice! Even publishers will end up using iWork to publish for the iPad because of the flexibility in document handling it has.

  2. @Crabapple,

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at comparing Indesign to iLife, but even if you meant iWork and more specifically Pages, you’re incorrect. One is a professional document design and layout tool, with features professionals need, and the other is an amateur tool missing most of the features professionals need.

    That said, the iWork apps are really excellent software. Not only are they awesome for anybody who isn’t a designer by trade, they’re quite adequate even for some amateur designers.

    The key to iWork, and to some extent iLife and even the iPhone and iPad, is that Apple is making technology accessible and usable. They’re making audio production, video production, photo editing, page layout, and presentation accessible. Not only are they making it accessible and usable, but they’re making it easy to do great looking work, and trust me, that is NOT an easy accomplishment.

    Go Apple!

  3. That’s Apple’s strength. Simplifying our interaction with computers. Now they are doing it again. Soon the competition will follow and that’s a win for every computer user.

  4. People like R2 will never get it till they can play Pandora in the background while working in iWork. I think Jobs should mandate that Pandora will never, ever play in the background forever on any Apple products just to piss off users like R2. lol

  5. What Apple is doing with iWorks is exactly what they did with the original Mac. It was so new they had to provide the first usable software. First to make it usable. Second to show other developers how to do it. MacWrite and MacPaint set the bar quite high for developers new to the platform. The same is true with iWorks.

  6. If one earns money with ones skills, does that not make one a professional? Just because iWork is intended for a particular user doesn’t mean it can’t be used in a professional environment.

  7. If the IPad is the future of computing, I am not sure I like it. Don’t get me wrong, I think the IPad is awesome, but it’s not a replacement for my Mac in any way shape or form. Unless they put OSX on it, allow virtualization,and let me put whatever software I want on it, it’s not a laptop but a netbook or an appliance or whatever you want to call it.

    That said, I can’t wait to write some snazzy programs for it from my mac.

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