2013.11 Analysis: Don't Leap Too Quickly onto the IWork Bandwagon

Concurrent with the release of the new operating system for Macintoshes (OS X 10.9, known as Mavericks), Apple also issued the first new version of its iWork and iLife suites in 4 years (since the '09 versions). Now, it's a bit misleading to refer to them as "suites" any more. Since the advent of the App Store, Apple has unbundled everything, and now you can get the individual component programs of iWork — Numbers spreadsheet, Pages layout, and Keynote presentation — separately, for the low, low price of $20 each. If you want a "bundle" (or suite), as such, it doesn't exist, but you can assemble one yourself for a grand total of $60. This is a fabulous bargain, and the software is pretty doggone good.

So you might figure that the latest release of these 3 programs would be even better. After all, Apple has had 4 years to work on them. Just think of all the great new features they must have installed, the speed bumps, the bug squashes, the interface elegances.

Surprise! Not so. Apple has stepped backward, stripping down the programs to have fewer features. "Why would they do that?", you're probably wondering, and you're not alone. SWAG President Dave Weston (the quintessential early adopter) was carping at our recent board meeting that Pages no longer supports import or export of RTF files. RTF! Rich-text format! The lowest common denominator of text storage, readable by virtually every word processor on the planet ... except Apple's flagship word-processing / page-layout program. (Dave has promised us full-blown articles on his experiences with Mavericks and the new iWork programs.)

If there's a saving grace in all this, it's that installing the new iWork programs does not automatically uninstall their elderly forebears. You can try the new versions to see if you like them, and if not you can revert to the old versions. Be warned even here, however, that the file formats are not reverse compatible. Anything created with the new version will be unreadable to the old one.

For those who are completely adrift as to what all this means, we provide the handy cross-reference chart ginned up for a presentation on office suites at one of our in-person meetings a couple of years ago:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)