Does iWork have a future?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by orvn, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. orvn macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toronto, Canada

    Do you guys think iWork has a future?

    I'm a designer/programmer and I power-used MS-Office for years, resulting with much frustration and a little bit of hair loss.

    Discovering iWork's Keynote and Pages was something like stumbling across a herd of speaking unicorns. The InDesign-like layout engine was a breeze to use and made for a pleasantly intuitive user experience.

    I'm now an iWork power user and I've even decided to publish a few iWork themes on Envato's Graphic River for supplemental income.

    I am worried, however, about the fact that there hasn't been a fresh iWork release in over 3 years.

    Recently I received a message that was going down, as it is now replaced with iCloud. I understand that iCloud does everything could do in the past and more, but it got me to thinking: is iWork a dead project or will there be new versions in the future?
  2. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    I think the issue is more, what features / changes can they make without adding things that are just features for check boxes. It does just about everything perfectly now (Ok, Numbers is a bit underpowered and not as complete as Excel) that it was designed to do. Adding something new to just add new things isn't good and just adds to the bloat.

    Personally I use iWork over Office for Mac whenever I can (I use Office when I need to share with others). Maybe an upgrade to the Office import / export abilities, but that doesn't need a whole new major version.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. So far, I can't see too much broken.
  3. orvn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toronto, Canada
    Good Point, no, it certainly isn't broken and it works spectacularly well, although I could think of a few new features / feature improvements that would be welcome without bloating Pages/Keynote (Adobe manages to upgrade each of their applications with wondrous new features, year after year).

    Numbers is the odd one out, I admit I tend to use Excel instead.

    I suppose my fear is really that iWork will be discontinued. I'll probably continue using it if it is, but popularity will naturally decrease, dwindling my little revenue stream from iWork themes.

  4. jared_kipe macrumors 68030


    Dec 8, 2003
    I was reinstalling iWork 09 after my upgrade to MountainLion and contemplating the same thing.

    iWork hasn't had a release in a while and leaves me wondering about what the state of it will be like. I agree that Pages and Keynote mostly do what they are supposed to do but Numbers is not really what I want it to be.

    Ever tried to open a large document in Numbers? (as in over 65k rows)
    You can't. It doesn't even try. Excel 2010 isn't perfect but at least it can open it and manipulate the data (namely removing some columns from a CSV on its way to importing into SQL).

    iWork 09 apps are some of apple's last legacy 32-bit applications, and they could use some love.
  5. Blue Fox macrumors 6502a

    Blue Fox

    Apr 13, 2009
    The good thing about Apple is that they're NOT Microsoft that feels like they have to COMPLETELY change their programs every 2 years and piss everyone off.

    iWork works beautifully. No reason to change something that isn't broke. They can add features and such via updates, but there's no need to completely revamp it at this time. Eventually, I'm sure iWork will drop the "year" and it'll just simply continue to be called iWork.
  6. calvz macrumors member

    May 31, 2012
    iWork does work beautifully. Too bad its compatibility with Office sucks and that's what I have to use at work.
  7. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    To be honest, even Office has problems with compatibility with other versions of itself.
  8. orvn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toronto, Canada
    I was worried someone might use the word 'legacy'..

    That's very interesting about opening large files. I'm going to try it with a big XLS converted SQL table right now.


    Too true.


    Office compatibility could be better, I do sometimes find myself fixing doc/ppt files. For the most part I just export to PDF though.


    Well, I'm not asking for a complete change. Maybe just a 64-bit version with a couple of modifications that show me the suite is still alive and not forgotten.

    It'd suck if this became a legacy the way Lotus 1-2-3 did.
  9. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Apple is not in the business computing market to any significant extent. iWork isn't a player in business, and if it isn't by now, it won't be. Some Mac users will probably still want it, but even students are more likely to use an academic version of Office.

    It may have some life in iOS, however.

    But I'd never hitch my wagon to it. Apple made some decent products in this area, think HyperCard, MacWrite, Claris and Appleworks, etc. All toast.

    And the iWorks online thing was a complete fail. iCloud and iWork is another nonstarter.

    If Apple made them freebies, which they should considering the price of their computers, then you'd be in business. But I can't see buying iWork again, and I bought it in the past. Just wasn't worth it.
  10. orvn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toronto, Canada
    Aw man.
  11. Glockron macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2012
    It seems there's a general consensus here that Excel > Numbers.

    Yet, when it comes to Pages and Keynote, I still don't think they live up to their Office 2011 counterparts. Formatting / layout in Word has gotten easier, and spell/grammar check is superior in EVERY way.

    When it comes to PowerPoint, I think making nice designs is just as easy as in Keynote. My PowerPoint is super snappy, I never have to wait, and I know my way around.

    In the same way that MS adds features to office, Apple really needs to step up to the bat with iWork. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a really bad idea IMO. You can always improve, if not we'd still all be on MS Windows XP / OS X Tiger if not earlier.

    I went ahead and got rid of iWork entirely.
  12. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    We are now in a new era of software for Apple. Software updates for the Mac are now free and in many times major updates. This is evidenced with Aperture by its total rewrite and feature upgrades, but remains a free update. This is evidenced by iWork adding iCloud documents as a free update. Final Cut Pro X will prove this to be true as well.

    Apple is putting a lot of value into your software purchases and I think it'll be a rare thing when we see a brand new version as we knew it a few years ago.
  13. Undecided macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2005
    If you're not regularly creating or dealing with documents, just a home user who on occasion needs to do something, then iWork is great.

    One thing that's especially nice about Pages is its page layout features (i.e., not just word processing).
  14. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    There must have been 5387 discussions of just this topic on MacRumors alone. Each is more tiresome than the last. iWork is not, never has been, and never will be intended for use as an Office replacement. It has never been marketed that way. Yet almost every day, a new thread is started on the topic of iWork and Office.

    iWork has conversion filters for Office files. These are intended as user conveniences, not as Office replacements. These filters also remain true to the Mac's origins. From the beginning, Mac applications feature conversion filters for popular non-native formats. Word opened MacWrite files. Just about everything else opened MacWrite and Word. These features did not confuse us in 1987. It is frustrating that so many today are confused by similar features.
  15. She rocket macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2012
    iWork wasn't intended to be Office Windows. It was however , a beautifully easy way to write as a creative person. I might as well go back to a PC if Apple is going to take everything to The Cloud.
  16. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    iWork apps for ipad & iphone without competing MS Office apps probably mean there's still a good future for iWorks, at least for a while
  17. colourfastt macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2009
    Those of us using computers back in 1987 actually understood the computers we were using .. software and hardware. Now the "users" are simpletons who treat a computer/tablet like any other appliance (think stove or washing machine) ... they hit the power button without real any understanding of what they're using.
  18. eRondeau macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    I use Keynote & Pages almost daily for one thing or another. Numbers not so much, but it is certainly easy to do simple spreadsheets. Apple's problem is that we (consumers) are so used to Apple's frequent updates and annual "major releases" that we worry when we don't get them. In the Windows world having 3-5 years between major updates is not uncommon. I use a specialized piece of software constantly at work and it's updated every five years if we're lucky. iWork '09 is by no means long in the tooth by these standards. :apple:
  19. HenryJobs macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    I doubt apple would discontinue it. They may not put any resources in developing it, but they don't like to give up control to anyone, especially Microsoft.
  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea

    The software team has been working on the iPad versions of the applications that make up what used to be called iWork. Apple appears to believe that having its productivity package work really well on the iPad is a priority as it showcases the iPad's abilities, and helps to sell iPads.

    However, Apple also sells a lot of Macs. And really, they want you to buy both a Mac and an iPad, so they need to make document creation seamless between the two. Which means keeping the Mac version of productivity suite compatible (feature-wise) with the iPad version - and vice-versa. I believe the Mac version neglect is merely temporary, while the team polishes the iPad version. At some point (soon I hope) they will move both versions ahead more or less simultaneously.

    One of the compelling reasons why Apple will keep their productivity suite current is because of Microsoft. MS wants to sell tablets, and Apple does not want MS to be successful at selling hardware. (This is in contrast to MS software, where having MS SW on Macs actually helps Mac sales, and is therefore good for Apple). For MS to sell lots of tablets, it needs to make the tablet integrate seamlessly into a business environment - which means having MS Office on the tablet, and having it work really well with Office on a PC. MS knows this, and will offer this solution.

    If Apple doesn't offer its own solution for tying an iPad and Mac suite together, it will lose lots of iPad sales to the MS tablet. Apple can't rely on MS to ensure MS Office for the iPad and Mac work well together, so they have to do it themselves. They can't rely on MS to provide the solution because MS is in a conflict of interests with their tablet. With MS Office for PCs or Macs, MS makes money regardless of the platform. Probably more money selling Office for Mac since they aren't providing heavily discounted licenses to Apple as they would do for Dell, Asus, etc.

    But... with their tablet coming out, they would rather people bought an MS tablet with Office, rather than iPad with Office.

    .... this is all just my pie in the eye musings, and shouldn't be taken too seriously...
  21. DoctorCrap macrumors regular


    Oct 6, 2012
    Penang, Malaysia
    iWork does seem to have nothing good in-store for it's future.
    Nothing changed in a long while now.
    Hopefully something happens.
    Although Pages, Keynote and Numbers are still the top of the Mac App Store. Well Pages and Keynote certainly is. Numbers isn't apparently, maybe because it is so similar to Microsoft Office Excel but I am starting to use Numbers now looks slightly more mac optimised than Excel.
  22. jacg macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2003
    Apple is know to shift its engineers around so perhaps they've all been busy with new versions of iBooks Author and iWork for iPad.

    I find the whole iPad / OS X compatibility for the iWork suite is an annoying distraction. Even if they have stopped developing Pages, etc for OS X, will the iPad versions ever catch up to the point where they can interchange the same files without losing anything? No, I don't have 500 fonts on my iPad for a start. Or any of the extra themes, etc I have added.

    So if they will never achieve total compatibility, why keep pretending? Just release an update to iWork for OS X that has a big iOS button that limits all the tools/fonts etc to iOS compatible ones. Have some visual cue so that you know you're in this mode. iOS iWork isn't bad, so many people will be fine working here. Switching modes would obviously be handy too, albeit with loss of features when going from OS X to iOS.

    If Apple could spare the engineers, iWork for OS X could then be developed free from the manacles of iOS. Unfortunately I don't think this will happen because there are probably a small number of people using both suites compared to the number of people using it just on iPad. After all, most iPad users don't own a Mac.
  23. northernbaldy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 13, 2010
    the north, UK
    Ms office is horrendously expensive though, you can't compare iWork's to office
    Ms works would be a fairer benchmark
  24. Jord5i macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2012
    I don't see why they would need to completely overhaul it.

    With lion we got versions, with mountain lion we have the full iCloud support. These updates make iWork quite a bit better then office imo, office has too much stuff barely anyone uses, iWork just does what it's supposed to do.
  25. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I don't think the comparison is really off. You can MS Office on Amazon for $89. To match that with Apple products you need to buy Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for a total of $60.

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