In today’s world of consumer electronics we’re all encouraged to have the latest piece of kit and to upgrade to the latest iterations of operating systems and software applications.
As someone who has been using Apple products, on and off since the early 1990s, I have always felt that their products are more stable, more reliable and just easier to use than their PC counterpart. I have always upgraded to the latest version of Mac’s operating system and have then upgraded our software, which includes Apple’s own word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications.
The most recent version of iWork (think of it as Apple’s version of Microsoft Office), known as iWork ’11 featured all-new versions of the three applications, which were immediately criticised in the ‘blogosphere’ as being far worse than the applications marketed as iWork ’09. Apple responded with a flurry of updates to reinstate many of the lost functions that Apple decided we no longer needed.
I have been running both versions of iWork and as of today I will be no longer using iWork ’11 for many reasons, but one of the major flaws in Pages (Apple’s word processor) and Numbers (spreadsheets) is the size of the files. Whereas the ’09 versions would create file sizes of around 80kb for a document with a few pages, a one-page document (pure text, no images) was a massive 480kb (the exported Word version was nearly 1MB). Add in stability issues and a far less intuitive way to work and Apple has produced a real dud.
There was really nothing wrong with iWork ’09 and Apple might start by going back over what they had and to make genuine improvements to their software, based on what its customers actually want.
From a PR perspective, Apple is in danger of alienating those who put the company where it is today. Let’s not forget that it wasn’t that long ago when Apple was making products for a very niche market and was once in danger of going under. I am pleased that I don’t have to use a PC, because I still believe that Apple’s products are better. But, if Apple continues to distance itself from its customers then there could easily be a reversal of fortune.