A growing number of iWork users have taken to Apple’s Support Communities forums to air complaints about the numerous changes Apple made to its productivity suite, which some say is now unusable.
Okay, I was pretty upset with what Apple did with iWork. I am still upset but have calmed down, especially after reading some more.
This is what Apple always does when it moves forward – it amputates what is no longer necessary. In contrast to most other companies which continue trying to save the festering, gangrenous tool long after it is worthless.
It looks like Apple reduced the functionality of iWork not because it wanted to make a toy useful to only children. It has to take a step backwards in order to move forwards. It has to change the festering way the software is written in order to allow the software to become useful.
It appears that Apple may know what it is doing because it has done this before. It did this with iMovie and with Final Cut Pro – completely starting from scratch to create a more modern application.
in the previous two cases, it released a version that was adequate but a step backward in terms of usability compared to the current version. But in both cases, they added back in functionality and brought the tools up to very high specs.
I refused to use the new version of iMovie when it came out because iMovie HD did so much more. But I have not used iMovie HD for well over a year. Apple brought iMovie up to where I needed it.
From what I have read, Apple is now coming out that the new versions of iWork have completely different file systems – instead of one large XML document that has to be entirely saved every time it is edited, the files are split up into many binary bits. essentially only the small binary is edited and saved at a time.
This basic change in file structure is what allows us to use these seamlessly across mobile work. We only have to quickly download or save just a small bit. These devices could not hold the entire XML document like a desktop could.
But now they can and can also begin to work with them in more complex ways.
So now it makes sense. This is not just some stupid arbitrary decision but one instrumental to the whole change to bring these apps into total dominance. Apple has to destroy its software in order to move it forward.
Instead of waiting until everything could be incorporated, Apple gives us an adequate version and rapidly works to get it up to high specs. It now has a path forward that I expect MS will have problems with based on its legacy applications. It permits the mobile devices to rapidly work on the exact same documents in the same way across the cloud, the desktop and mobile.
Even people without Apple products can access the cloud to see and edit documents. Apple can now move forward across all three to make software that just works.
And the way we can tell this is the path apple is going to take – when we upgrade to the new iWork, it keeps the old versions around. We can still use them.
In a normal update, the old version is overwritten with the new version. But when Apple takes this step sideways, it still permits us access to the old version. we can continue using it until Apple gets the new versions up to speed.
I’m back to trusting in Apple.