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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite' Pick of the Week
iWork '06 imageThe macosxhints Rating:
9 of 10
[Score: 9 out of 10]
Last week was Expo, of course, and many new products were introduced. iWork '06, though, had an immediate impact on my work, and as a result, I spent quite a bit of time using it (well, half of it!) last week. Despite the minimal amount of attention iWork received during the keynote, there are some truly substantive improvements in the package.

Since I do a lot of presenting, I was most interested in the changes in Keynote, and whether they would address my number one gripe with the program. My gripe has to do with bulleted lists; namely, that when you have a bulleted list on a slide, you can (a) only have one such list per slide, and (b) you can't do anything else while those bullets were appearing on the screen. Assume the first bullet in a list is "Mail's new interface look," for instance, followed by "iTunes' new video features." In prior versions of Keynote, you couldn't insert a screenshot of the Mail interface after the first bullet, then have the screenshot vanish before the second bullet. This led to all sorts of stupid workarounds, most of which involved duplicating large numbers of slides.

In Apple's booth Tuesday after the keynote, a rep demonstrated that Apple had fixed my gripe in Keynote 3. You can have as many bulleted lists on a slide as you like, and you can now do things during the bullet builds. Since my presentation wasn't until Thursday, I went to the Apple retail store in San Francisco and bought a copy of iWork. I then spent much of my free time on Tuesday and Wednesday updating my presentations to take advantage of the new Keynote 3 bullet building feature (and inserting some of the nice new slide transitions). I found Keynote 3 to be a great improvement over the prior version, and hence, iWork earns this week's Pick of the Week on the merits of Keynote alone.

Pages has some nice upgrades, too, though I didn't spend nearly as much time on it. Of the changes in Pages, the addition of an auto-correct tool is quite welcome, as is the new integration with the Address Book (for doing mail merge documents). I covered what I found to be the major new features in each program (and the suite overall) in my iWork First Look writeup for Macworld. The writeup includes a demo movie of the bullet building feature in action, amongst other things.

I know some will complain that there's no upgrade price for iWork (or iLife, for that matter). But to me, even at $158 for two years, iWork has been well worth the money just for Keynote alone. There are still some things PowerPoint does better, of course, but Keynote is now a very worthy competitor, and at a substantially reduced price. Throw in Pages, and iWork is a bargain. (You'll probably feel differently if you don't do a lot of presenting, of course; Pages isn't a replacement for Word, and a program like The Print Shop may out-do Pages' layout skills).
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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: pub3abn on Jan 16, '06 08:21:29AM

Your point about no upgrade path for iWork (or iLife, or OS X upgrades [usually]) is worth a comment. Assuming you are a user who did not get some kind of special upgrade deal not available to most people, then you effectively have two licenses: one for the old version, and one for the new. So what I do is give away my old version to someone else. There is nothing illegal about this, as there would be if you purchased an upgrade license. So "share the love" and give someone less fortunate your old license and software.



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Excellent idea.
Authored by: jscotta on Jan 16, '06 08:42:12AM

Might I suggest a school as a lucky recipient? Or a local charity that uses Macs?

---
Windows because I have to. OS X because I want to.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: Shawn Parr on Jan 16, '06 08:44:14AM

Does anyone know yet if Keynote will allow use of the Apple remote with one of the new MacBooks to control Keynote presentations? I tried doing some Googling and didn't find anything.

I think this feature, if available, would make the MacBook very attractive to people who do lots of presentations. I have been wishing for a Powerbook for quite a while mostly for Keynote presentations in classes I give. If the new setup comes with a remote so I can more freely walk around while giving class, and for free, that would be great.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: azxplorer on Jan 16, '06 09:11:47AM

Yes,

According to comments posted by Brian Peat in the Apple discussions board.

Johnny



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: TypeMRT on Jan 16, '06 10:50:55AM

I tried it at MacWorld and the remote definitely works with Keynote 3.



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Error bars
Authored by: VicF on Jan 16, '06 08:44:17AM

Do graphs have error bars yet? If I have to continue to build error bars by hand, Apple's probably not getting my money...

Vic



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Error bars
Authored by: germ on Jan 16, '06 12:52:57PM

Time to get yourself a proper graphing application. May I suggest pro Fit?



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Error bars
Authored by: VicF on Jan 16, '06 01:14:31PM

No thanks. That'd be swatting a fly with a sledgehammer. All I need is to draw simple bar graphs and line graphs with error bars.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: gklinger on Jan 16, '06 10:18:31AM

I purchased iWork 05 as a Christmas gift for my girlfriend. Two weeks later Apple releases iWork 06 and doesn't offer a free or even a paid upgrade. Yeah, I'm angry. I feel like I've been ripped off by Apple (again). Suggesting that buying iWork twice in two weeks is justified because the it only costs twice as much over two years is ludicrous and typical of Apple users/apologists.

No, this not the way a responsible company should treat its users.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: cmurtaugh on Jan 16, '06 11:32:24AM

I dunno dude -- if you buy an '05 product in the last two weeks of 2005, I think you have to expect that it'd be updated pretty soon. iWork '05 is still a good and usable product.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: pub3abn on Jan 16, '06 11:37:46AM

Can't you return it and buy the new version?



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: Vitalstatistix on Jan 16, '06 12:46:01PM

Pages had one particular bug: if a paragraph was justified, tabs would not work, they'd appear as spaces. Anyone know if this has been fixed?



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: wombat on Jan 16, '06 03:56:02PM

Yes, tabs in justified text now behave as expected.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: CDubber on Jan 16, '06 02:01:56PM

Holy smokes, now I've heard it all. I can sympathize with those that bought G5 iMacs recently, as they were just refreshed in Oct. and few expected another update so soon.

But to buy an '05 application 2 weeks before '06, knowing full well (or should have known full well) that the '06 version would be announced, well, in January '06? And then to whine and moan that Apple is ripping you off?

Unbelievable.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: rotarywing on Jan 16, '06 03:05:17PM

If the guy is a switcher he'd be used to things like "Office 2003", "VPC 2004","Flight Sim 2002 and 2004" or "Windows 2000" and maybe not realize that some companies actually update their software on a regular basis.

Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. ;-)



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Price vs. features
Authored by: tatilsever on Jan 16, '06 03:45:36PM

It still does not change the fact that Apple is asking for $80 for minor changes. Actually, other than the "tables with calculations" and "graphs", most of the others should have already been done in a well-designed suite anyways. Jobs did not even bother to demo it during his speech.

They have every right to price their product as they wish and I know Apple is a high margin company (in other words the luxury brand), but I still think this is a bit high.



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Price vs. features
Authored by: Han Solo on Jan 16, '06 07:31:41PM
Have you made an exhaustive comparison of the new features to the previous versions? Everything I've read that discusses specific details — and the little bit of playing around I just did in the local Apple Store — suggests the upgrades to iWork '06 are rather more extensive than most people are writing them off as. Of course, YMMV. (Not to say there isn't room for additional improvement, but then no app is perfect....)

Have you compared the price of iWork to the price of purchasing — or even upgrading — Word and PowerPoint? People complain that Apple doesn't offer an upgrade price: relative to a lot of other apps, it seems Apple just charges everyone an upgrade price...! (Does kinda make you wonder just what those "Software Coupons" are for, however....)

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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: ascanio on Jan 16, '06 10:55:50PM

About G5 iMacs vs Intel iMacs (I know this is going a bit off-topic) I don't think there is any need to sympathize. I would never buy an Intel iMac: G5 is not bad at all (even stretching benchmarks, Core Duo is not that better), and almost all the software is going through Rosetta to be slower than on G5. Besides, Classic is not working any more (nor is VirtualPC, should you need it) and the next software versions will be Universal for a long time to go. So, where is the advantage?



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: allanmarcus on Jan 17, '06 12:30:53PM

I expect by this summer you will see Intel Mac Only programs for mac OS X. Possibly, sooner. These will be ports of various linux programs or Windows programs; one or two of which will be a Windows environment like CrossOver or Wine. My guess is that we'll start to see more and more Intel Only plug ins for PhotoShop, once PhotoShop MacTel ships.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: jc_helary on Jan 18, '06 04:25:25AM

Never buy anything before a Mac event.
If you really want to buy stuff, check the rumor sites and get a feel of what is going to be updated.
Everybody knew that iWorks had huge probabilities of being upgraded this January...



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This risk of buying...
Authored by: juzzyp on Jan 20, '06 11:25:59AM

I am not sure I see the validity oif this argument. sure, you buy Adobe CS2 for $1200, you want an upgrade path, but I cannot see how buying iWork 05 in Dec 05 is any less risky than buying a software game like Madden 05 right before Madden 06 comes out.

You determine if you really need the new features, and if not, you enjoy the 05 game for what it is (it is exactly what it said on the package when you biught it), and then you replace it in 6 months with a (cheaper) 06 version, or wait till 07. Roundabout the same price as iWork to.

At least Apple lets you know there will be yearly updates. Try buying a Treo 650 one month before Treo 700 comes out. No upgrade path their either.

This seems a little like a storm in a teacup, and probably attached to our emotional response when we suddenly realize we dont have the latest and greatest?



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: nerkles on Jan 16, '06 01:03:53PM

Does Pages have AppleScript support yet?



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: wombat on Jan 16, '06 03:55:50PM

Yes - the dictionary shows six suites:
Standard Suite
Text Suite
Pages Application Suite
Pages Graphics Suite
Pages Text Suite
Type Definitions



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Have they fixed the html output from Pages.
Authored by: jscarry on Jan 16, '06 06:21:44PM

My biggest complaint from Pages is the odd way that it sends out its html. It uses CSS and the program itself uses styles but they output creates a ton of redundant code. Here is an example of one line.

<p style="margin-bottom: 0.000000pt; margin-top: 0.000000pt; font-family: 'ArialMT', 'Arial'; font-size: 16.00pt; line-height: 1.12; " class="Free_Form ">Children:&#xA0;&#xA0;&#xA0;&#xA0;Bernard (Barney) (1856-1932)</p>

it should be
<p>Children: Bernard (Barney) (1856-1932)</p>
since every paragraph in the Pages document has the same style.

Did they link the CSS in the HTML to the styles in the Pages document?



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iWork '06 9 out of 10? no...only Keynote...
Authored by: mac4hire on Jan 17, '06 12:02:43AM
Rob - I know you make the admission (near the end) of the review that you are most anamored with Keynote and not Pages...but other than a flimsy blurb about Pages the whole review is a rave for Keynote. Which is great - for Keynote...but you have a "9 out of 10" for Suite package..when all you like is Keynote (1/2 of the package)...Pages suffered from a lot of problem in its last revision...have any of those shortcomings been addressed? Any? I think you should change the rating to 9 out of 10 for Keynote only...and then get out and do a serious look at Pages....

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If a window forces you to think \"what now?\"
It's been incorrectly designed.

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What *exactly* do you want fixed in Pages?
Authored by: Han Solo on Jan 17, '06 06:39:07AM

I suspect you'll get a more informative answer from a more explicit question... why not list the bugs in Pages 1.0 you found most vexing? Then maybe someone can actually check them out and letcha know. FWIW, there are more detailed discussions of the improvements in Pages 2.0 on the web, and the ones I've read seem to be rather positive. Your post, on the other hand, is frankly so vague that it's veering into FUD territory.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: petersconsult on Jan 17, '06 02:50:53AM

Hello All,
One thing that nobody mentions, not even Apple, is that you can use multiple languages within a single document (even within a single sentence)!
This, for me, is a very big improvement, especially because it is so easy to switch between languages, and the spell checker is seamless.
I think this is a big deal, I only wish all Apple apps could do that just as easily!

Cheers,
Peter



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: BMarsh on Jan 17, '06 03:53:26PM

is this improved language support for Keynote or Pages? (or both?)



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: Crackle on Jan 17, '06 11:41:30PM

Found this page on a google search to update / upgrade my iWork 05.
As a reseller, supporter and user of iWork I also find it distasteful that there is no upgrade path. I have purchased Keynote and iWork 05 but will wait for another alternative to present itself before I pay full price. So I will not be up to scratch on this software and so my customers will not be buying it. Every action has an equal and reverse reaction.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: david-bo on Jan 18, '06 12:42:11AM

People should learn to do interesting speeches rather than using presentation software. Churchill didn't have Powerpoint or Keynote and some of his lectures are among the most influential, interesting and/or convincing in the history of mankind.

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http://www.google.com/search?as_q=%22Authored+by%3A+david-bo%22&num=10&hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&btnG=



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: MartiNZ on Jan 19, '06 02:11:07PM

I got the iWork '06 trial with iLife '06 and just checked out a few things. The iWork apps still don't antialias text as they 'should' – as it is done in TextEdit for instance – and I think they don't do it as well as that ... I don't know why this is.

They still don't seem to save window positions for new documents either – something that I find really annoying on a 12" screen, and something which Microsoft Office does ... despite its shortcomings.



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: nomis on Jan 20, '06 02:49:35PM

Nice improvement, I'm sure . . . but I don't want to be left in the cold here . . . .

Does anyone know (or could anyone try to find out with a "spare" computer) if Keynote 3 will run/install/present on a 400MHz TiBook (500MB RAM/8MB vidRAM). Apple offers no demo, and the system requirements for Keynote 3 also exceeded my TiBook (and it works fine on there).

Is it possible that the requirement Apple specifies are for the flashier graphics?



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iWork '06 - Nice improvements to Apple's 'suite'
Authored by: g_mocken on Feb 11, '06 01:48:38PM

It correctly installs and starts up on an TiBook 400 (768 Mb, 8MB VRAM) without any error message or warning. But in presentation mode, instead of correct transitions, the video is garbled and sometimes Keynote 3 even crashes. Note that I used a presentation created in Keynote 2, therefore the problem is not related to any of the new features.
I have sent a bug report to Apple.



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So far Pages 2 is nice
Authored by: pelle on Jan 27, '06 04:10:48AM
I bought it 2 days ago and I've written a review with screenshots of Pages on my blog: First impressions of Pages 2
While I have never used the first iteration of Pages. I really like it so far. The mini spread sheet feature is worth it's weight in gold for example.

---
Happy PB 1.5 user for almost a year. Former Linux nerd.

I blog about business at http://stakeventures.com
and technology at http://neubia.com


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Pages 2 questions...
Authored by: soulbarn on Jan 30, '06 03:24:12PM

Demoing it now. I'm a power user of MS Word, but I do like the simplicity of Pages (I like the simplicity of BBEdit, too, but as a writer, I need tools that it doesn't have.) But one thing bugs me about Pages, and perhaps somebody can help me remedy it: in MS Word, there's a "Wrap to Screen" mode that basically lets you see all the text you're typing without being limited to the margins of the WYSIWYG page layout. This is huge for me, because I work with large quantities of text, and the more of it I can see on the screen, the better. (For example, on my iMac's 1680x1050 display, with plenty of room left for menu bars and the dock, Word can display about 21,000 12-point characters in "wrap to window" mode. Pages, as far as I can tell, has only a WYSIWG view that can display about 5,000 characters, at most. A huge difference!)

Does anyone know if Pages has a "wrap to window" mode, or if there's any way to get it to display more characters per screen (other than adjusting font size, of course.)

I know that Pages isn't exactly a word processor, and I'm probably asking too much...but it sure would be nice to ditch Word...Open Office/Neo Office and the other Mac Word Processors I've tried remain too quirky for me.)

- dan



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For wide text try Tofu
Authored by: ofindsen on Jan 31, '06 09:57:37AM

If you work with large quatities of text on a large screen you might be interested in Tofu - a text reading program that fills the screen with text in columns. I love it -- find it at homepage.mac.com/asagoo/tofu



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