The office app landscape had been going on for some time without any surprises. After a season of some stagnation, yesterday Apple encouraged the productivity apps sector with an important news: iWork becomes totally free. Both for Mac and iOS devices.
Although in reality, these apps were already included as standard on newly acquired equipment several years ago. But the change is very significant for a sector of apps that are taken for granted on the large platforms. Both Google and Microsoft have been paying no attention to their office solutions for some time now and have yet to make a move.
iWork: from creativity to ecosystem functionality
iWork was born as a preventive and defensive strategy (reducing dependence on Microsoft and Office), but deep down it was an express desire of Jobs to give creative tools to his customers. Instead of competing in functionality with the king of office automation , Apple focused on giving its productivity apps other advantages: compatibility with the iLife suite, templates to get to work as soon as possible, and various other improvements focused on ease of use.
While the professional and advanced user would still prefer the power of Office, the home user could get by with Apple’s solution, which was also cheaper . The Apple suite was adding small improvements over time (even whole apps like Numbers), but the real turning point came with the introduction of the iPad in 2010.
iWork for iPad was not a “carbon copy” of its Mac version but was designed entirely for the new touch interface. And that’s when the turning point came, when iWork would no longer be exclusive to the Mac and would no longer be the sole protagonist of the suite. Now I had to share it with iOS. A warning of what was to come.
The real turning point was the introduction of iWork for the Apple tablet
In 2013, with the arrival of iOS 7, Apple made iWork and iLife apps free for new computers and devices. In return, both the Mac and iOS versions were matched in functionality, with the Mac version being disadvantaged by the removal of advanced features. A necessary “sacrifice” to be able to resolve the compatibility between both versions, as well as the creation of iWork in the cloud.
Gradually, some of the lost features have been brought back into iWork. And we’ve gained others like cloud editing and sharing files from the Apple suite with others – even without an Apple device. With all these changes, iWork is no longer a suite just for creating. One that reaffirms its independence while facing its two biggest competitors: G Suite and Office.
From lack of Google integration to Office subscription
As users of equipment on the block, we are fortunate to have three major office solutions at our disposal: Apple iWork, Google G Suite and Microsoft Office . Each one has its advantages and weaknesses compared to the other two, but with the recent change in Apple’s software, the company has tightened the screws a bit on both competitors.
¡Por fin! Microsoft añade soporte a Google Calendar en Outlook para Mac.
As mentioned above, iWork has identical, completely free versions for Mac and iOS, with no limitations on cross-device compatibility, with management and editing from iCloud. Plus, it comes standard on every computer, and users have their apps perfectly synchronized with iCloud. There’s also export to Office formats. It’s ideal for those living in the Apple ecosystem , as it ensures compatibility and updates to new devices more quickly.
Until a few months ago, the G Suite was not fully adapted to the iPad Pro. Now it has support for Split View and multitasking on Apple’s most powerful iPads. A negative point is that the web versions on an iOS device refer you to the iOS app (something Apple also does). In Google’s case, having web versions on the desktop instead of apps makes this absence even stranger. Despite a less intimate integration, G Suite is the free default solution for many users living in multi-platform environments .
Google has dismissed iOS as a second-class citizen; opportunity taken by Microsoft to provide full support
For the “old school”, we have Microsoft Office. Currently integrated in the Office 365 subscription, you can get much more than an office suite for an annual payment (from 69 euros). Cloud space, Skype calls and other advantages. It is a complete and powerful suite, with versions that are perfectly compatible with the iPhone and the different iPad models. And an important detail: iOS devices under 10 inches can make full use of the suite for free.
As we can see, each one plays with his cards trying to satisfy different types of customers. We can say that Google’s web and app integration is not the most intimate. As a user, I’ve been noticing for a long time a certain sloppiness from the search engine in their iOS apps. The only drawback for Microsoft is the price and the fact that it is a subscription. It is possible to buy the Mac apps separately, but it is a very high price . And for Apple, the recovery of features removed during the transition to iOS has not been complete.
Movements like yesterday’s by Apple can make the rest of the competitors try to make their proposals more attractive and complete. With the season of developer presentations on the horizon, we may see a breakthrough in a few months.