Is Apple prepping a new and improved office suite? The rumors that abound before Apple's Macword Expo are in full force, and one of the rumors gathering steam is that Apple might be ready to unveil a suite called iWork, with its Keynote presentation software and a new word processing program called Pages or perhaps Notes.
Apple's product announcements, and speculation about them, always garner far more interest than the sales of Apple's products actually seem to warrant. If press coverage were market-share, Apple would dominate the industry. Note that Microsoft and other high-tech companies actually have to trot out execs to brag about products in development to get coverage from the press. Apple, on the other hand, actively discourages speculation about future products, and the press showers the company with coverage of rumors before every big event.
Still, the idea of a strong Apple office suite does appeal to me -- though not because I have any plans to rush out and buy a Mac. (Though a $500 Mac would make it at least a little more likely.) Actually, I'm in favor of anything that might help whittle away at Microsoft's stranglehold on the market and give users a little more choice.
What I'd really like to see is for Apple to take a cue from Sun and use OpenOffice.org as a base for development. Apple is no stranger to using open source code in its products and a partnership with the OpenOffice.org project could be good for both Apple and the OO.org project.
Sun's StarOffice is built from the OpenOffice.org codebase and is designed to use the same file formats. In fact, OpenOffice.org's OpenDocument file formats are now becoming OASIS standards. It'd be a big boost to open formats if Apple would use the OpenDocument format for its iWork suite... if such a thing exists, of course.