iWork ’09 & iWork.com Updated


Yesterday Apple (s aapl) released the latest patches to its iWork ’09 productivity suite, bringing the software up to version 9.0.3. As usual, Apple vaguely mentions improved compatibility and stability in Keynote, Pages and Numbers.

Looking through the detailed listing on Apple’s Support site, it appears that most of the update takes the form of bug fixes and refinements for Keynote and Numbers. Pages gets the least love with ‘just’ four updates.

iWork.com: The Forgotten Cousin

Waaaaay back in early January, shortly after its launch, I wrote a positively-glowing opinion piece about iWork.com, Apple’s seemingly-forgotten online collaboration service. Nothing has happened with iWork.com in the intervening eight months. Nothing.

So it comes as something of a surprise to learn that the current round of updates for iWork ’09 include some modest updates to iWork.com, too. What do I mean when I say “modest?” Well, here’s the entire list of updates to iWork.com:

  • Enhanced security with 128-bit SSL encryption and document password protection
  • Improved document reviewing capabilities with Comment notification features
  • E-mail invitations are now sent via iWork.com instead of using Mac OS X Mail

<sarcasm>I know. I was also completely blown-away. </sarcasm>

While Apple has spent most of 2009 doing apparently nothing with iWork.com, Google (s goog) has forged-ahead refining and expanding its (free) Google Docs service and even Microsoft (s msft) has taken its first tentative steps into online productivity with its web-based (free) versions of Office Apps (still in closed beta). Even Adobe (s adbe) has thrown its hat into the ring with its own flash-based online productivity suite (also free for most of the basic functionality and features).

Apple, on the other hand, says of its neglected iWork.com that “Fees may apply to future versions of the service.” And let’s not forget that, unlike all the other competition, iWork.com is limited to Sharing & Collaboration only; that is, you can’t create new documents on iWork.com.

How sad. I’d have hoped for a more substantial update after eight months. But for the five of you (me included) still using iWork.com Beta, I know we’re all super-grateful for the effort. And who knows — perhaps these few changes signal the first of many more to come.