Apple launches iWork 08: updated productivity tools

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apple_iwork_08.pngIt’s been a long time coming, and talked/rumoured about, now at last Apple has updated its iWork applications, launching iWork ’08.

iWork 08 not only enhances the Pages and Keynote applications, but includes the new “Numbers” spreadsheet application that many believed Apple would, and needed to, introduce if they stood any chance of competing against Microsoft.

Interestingly, Apple has gone for a new approach to spreadsheets with the Numbers application. Instead of copying Excel, as so many others have, their approach allows people to organise and interlink information on different sheets on a flexible graphical canvas. This should make it easier to build relationships between the intelligent tables, each of which is a spreadsheet in its own right, as well as printing them.

It comes with a range of 150 pre-made calculations, and creating of live 2D and 3D charts and graphics is said to be very easy.

Pages ’08 now includes a streamlined word processing mode and a more detailed page layout mode. Both come with a range of templates, plus a new feature called “Change tracking” allowing collaborative documents to be more clearly edited.

Finally, Keynote ’08, Apple’s PowerPoint-esque presentation application, introduces new Smart Builds to allow animations to be easily made simply by dragging graphics onto a slide.

iWork ’08 is also supposed to be fully Microsoft Office compatible, in terms of importing and exporting documents. Available now priced £55, which is pretty darn good even if it’s still not Word and Excel.

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Andy Merrett