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Apple iWork '09 review

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Apple iWork '09
  • Apple iWork '09
  • Apple iWork '09
  • Apple iWork '09
  • Apple iWork '09
  • Apple iWork '09
  • Apple iWork '09
  • Apple iWork '09
  • Apple iWork '09
  • Apple iWork '09
  • Apple iWork '09

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

As much as Microsoft Office is considered the de facto standard for its category of application suites, it isn't actually the one we'd recommend everyone buy. Which is why Apple continues to offer regular updates to iWork, its package of office productivity programs.

As our various office tutorials attest, there are layers upon layers of functionality buried inside the various Office programs that most users will simply never find.

The problem with this, as mentioned in our Office 2007 review, is that when so much of that capability goes unneeded and unwanted, paying for it can deter some would-be buyers and leave a sour taste in the mouth of those that do stump up.

The raison d'être of iWork, then, is to offer an alternative to Office for Mac for those users that don't need the power under Office's surface. And, importantly, iWork also offers this substitute at a more attractive price point than Office. It's a methodology that has paid dividends in the past - iWork '08 striking us as a particular success.

Apple unsurprisingly claims its latest iteration of iWork is its best yet, with numerous advancements in Pages, Numbers and Keynote over last year's version. Some of these probably won't be of much use or interest to many users. There are a few, though, which really made me wonder: "how has this not been thought of before?"

Evren

February 19, 2009, 3:07 pm

Now a review of OpenOffice 3 and comparing it to MS Office and iWork would be great :)

Cub

February 19, 2009, 4:36 pm

I'm hesitant to add anything here as history has proven that any negative comment about Microsoft or their products on an Apple based article will be immediately met by fanboy flames... But still, what's an AppleBoy to do!?





I actually had no idea that you could pick up MS Office so cheaply for the Mac, I had assumed that it was only available at the extortionate prices that I remember it being from my PC days. But still, if you appreciate the structure of OS X, the cleanliness, the integration, and the similarity of it all. If you've ever heard of Apple's Human Interface Guidelines... Then you should pick up iWork, not Office.





This is based on the last version of Office for Mac, not the current version; Office infiltrates so many corners of your HDD, putting files and folders in places that no application should be putting files and folders. One of the many reasons that I and many other Mac user switched in the first place is the unorganised nature of apps in Windows. You have a collection of files in folders A, an entry in registration file B, bits of C all over the place.


OS X, 99% of the time doesn't have any of that! Unless you install Office on it, that is.





I would love to be proven wrong and be told that the latest versions have stopped doing this and have followed Apple's simple guidelines that even the smallest, most amateurish developers manage to follow.

Kashif Bhatti

February 19, 2009, 11:50 pm

Good review.





However, as a day-in, day-out user of both suites, I'd like to clear a few misunderstandings. Iwork '09 loads faster than any product of Office and unlike Office has yet to crash on me - Word or Excel is guaranteed to crash at the most inopportune moment at least once a fortnight. Word or Powerpoint does not have more power under the 'hood, and only Excel has more functions - but even then, Excel for PC is more powerful.





The argument that one must have Office for the millions (and millions) of people out there does not stand with this iteration of Iwork - Thanks to Iwork.com, I regularly share files with PC owners. It is true, some formatting is lost in .doc conversion, but then again, newer office suites and their .docx format are just as 'incompatible' with the many many people who just have Office 2004 (every computer in the NHS!).





Apple's moto - keep it simple, stupid. And it works.

edoreld

February 20, 2009, 2:45 am

I'ld like to make a correction.





You don't need to get out of Full Screen Mode on Pages to use the Inspector. You can just need to use the keyboard shortcut (cmd + alt + i )

aaron88

February 20, 2009, 4:22 pm

@ Cub - You really should try the latest version of Office for mac. Its a vast improvement over the last one (which I agree was pretty poor and way too unstable). It actually doesn't feel like a Microsoft product at all. And Kashif every computer in the NHS can read docx files because there was an update released around when Office 2007 was released to allow older versions of Office to read 2004 files. Every so often you need a more permanent upgrade. Think of Office 2004 to 2007 as Mac OS 9 to OS 10.

Hugo

February 21, 2009, 2:29 am

Evren - I'll consider it. Not a fan of Open Office, though.





edoreld - I never thought to try that... oops. It would be nice if the Inspector blended into full screen mode a little more still, though.

Kashif Bhatti

March 2, 2009, 8:21 pm

@aaron... not computers (a month ago) in the south... and definitely not (last week) in mersey/north yorkshire!

CV

July 28, 2009, 8:05 pm

Is there an estimate on the timetable for the release of Office 2010 for Mac?

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