Where the heck is iWork '12?

Where the heck is iWork '12?

Summary: Apple's last major update of its venerable office suite -- iWork -- was almost three years ago and it's starting to show its age. Is it going 64-bit? Will it get a reboot?

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Where the heck is iWork '12?

Microsoft Office is an industry standard and a practical requirement for people that need to exchange office documents back and forth. But I tend to launch Keynote, Pages or Numbers when I'm creating a new document for me. Although I've done several tours with Office (who hasn't) I prefer iWork for most tasks and Keynote is hands-down a better application than PowerPoint.

The problem is that Apple's last major update of its venerable office suite was almost three years ago and it's starting to show its age. Here's a breakdown of the major iWork releases since it was announced in 2005:

  • January 11, 2005 -- iWork '05
  • January 10, 2006 –- iWork '06
  • August 7, 2007 -- iWork '08
  • January 6, 2009 -- iWork '09

Although Apple is still promoting '09 versions of software on its website...

... it has (wisely) dropped the '09 designation from the versions being sold on the Mac App Store:

Many people (including myself) thought that Apple would release iWork '12 at its Let's Talk iPhone event on October 4, but it didn't come to pass. Apple instead released the iPhone 4SiOS 5, and iCloud - nothing to sneeze at, mind you. I was almost certain that Apple would release iWork '12 alongside iOS 5. It made total sense -- at least to me.

Instead of releasing iWork '12, Apple decided to release incremental updates to the suite, mostly to support new OS innovations.

On July 20 Apple released updates to iWork desktop apps adding OS X Lion features like full screen, resume, auto save and versions.

On October 12 Apple updated Keynote, Pages and Numbers for iOS to version 1.5, adding support for iCloud’s Documents in the Cloud feature. The updates allow users to automatically store presentations, spreadsheets and word processing files in iCloud and keep them synced among multiple iOS devices.

While iWork for iOS got Documents in the Cloud support, unfortunately the desktop versions didn't follow suit. This necessitates the following workflow if you want to transfer a Pages document from your iPhone to your Mac (for example):

  1. Pages app > documents screen
  2. Touch Edit (icons start to shake)
  3. Touch Document
  4. Touch Share icon
  5. Touch iWork.com
  6. Oddly you must send an email notification (even if sharing to yourself) or it won't upload
  7. Visit iWork.com from a browser on your Mac, log in
  8. Download the shared file (options include Pages, PDF or Word format)
  9. Open it in Pages for Mac OS

Once you've got the document on your Mac, there's no way to upload it to iWork.com. The only way to get the document back on your iPhone is to email it to yourself and select "Open with Pages" on your iOS device.

Obtuse, to say the least.

So where, oh where, is iWork '12?

Originally iCloud was believed to be holding it up, but Apple released iCloud on October 4, so that's not it.

A theory being floated on the Apple discussion boards is that iWork '11 was being re-written to be 64-bit native and Apple "ran into some significant issues with existing 64-bit-able hardware base" so they're downgrading it to 32-bit.

One of my favorite rumors is that iWork '12 will come with a Final Cut Pro X-style reboot. It apparently started when AppleBitch discovered an Apple job opening for a Senior User Interface Designer that would "rework the iWork suite on both Mac and iOS devices."

Whatever the reason, Apple needs to ship it soon. Seemless iCloud integration is practically a given but I'm sure that Apple has some other snazzy features up its sleeve, too.

In the meantime you can give Apple your thoughts on iWork '12 here: http://www.apple.com/feedback/

iWork box shots: Softpedia

Topics: Mobile OS, Apple, Collaboration, Software

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30 comments
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  • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

    I've been asking myself the same question. Don't forget to add the next version of Aperture or Logic Pro. It' been at least two years since the release of those products as well.

    With rumored hardware revamps and new software introductions, Apple will have a very busy 2012.
    smulji
    • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

      Apple didn't do a lot of things in their last press event. Although the iPhone 4s is a fantastic phone, most were expecting a redesign.. that didn't happen.

      As you mentioned no update or word on the next iWork suite.

      No update for the Apple TV, output is still a shameful 720p instead of the now industry standard 1080.

      No changes to the iPod Touch, except for a white version and cheaper. It would have been nice to see them improve the camera.

      The list goes on....
      Masari.Jones
  • doc exchange works - that's not a problem

    put the pages (or whatever doc) in the respective folder in the ~/library/Mobile??documents and it will be synced and available to all of your iOS devices.
    Awkward - definitely, not the most understandable way of doing things! Works - yes.
    Hardijs
  • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

    Rather than the steps you describe, a much easier way to transfer a file from an iOS iWork app to the Mac is to simply log into iCloud.com and download it from the iWork section. This is the intended way to do it, and not nearly as many steps as what you describe.
    rmansfield
    • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

      You can use the same icloud.com interface to upload a document for work on your iOS device. However, upon doing so you will not be able to download it again till it has been opened on an iOS device.
      bvirga0218@...
    • Assuming

      @rmansfield
      You use the iCloud
      rhonin
  • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

    Also, when are they going to upgrade iWeb?
    gtdworak
    • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

      @gtdworak

      iDisk, iWeb Publishing and Gallery are dead...
      http://www.apple.com/mobileme/transition.html

      ... so are syncing of Mac Dashboard widgets, keychains, Dock items, and System Preferences -- they will not be part of iCloud.

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
    • Bingo! Wither iWeb?

      @gtdworak
      This is a major point for me, too. Jason, you should address this one, too. It's not difficult to work around iWeb requiring using another provider than Apple after next June, but will they keep iWeb and keep it up-to-date? I have a very extensive nature, science and environmental website (www.njnaturenotes.com) and dread the possibility of having to port it over to another application. It could be done, but the work??? For me, iWeb is a great tool and I constantly try to push its boundaries. How about it, Apple?
      Rich W.
  • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

    I use keynote every day and my business is based on keynote. No one wants an update more than me. Not really sure what happened but this is one case where apple's silence is incredibly frustrating. At least with Adobe we have an idea of when (CS5) major updates are coming around the corner. To leave professionals in the dark about issues that affect their lifeblood is just, well not that Fu&*^&ng cool.
    C42D
  • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

    & wherever did old Appleworks' Data Base function go?
    Kootenay Coyote
    • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

      @Kootenay Coyote
      Filemaker or Bento
      Synthmeister
  • "Apple needs to ship it soon"

    Why does Apple need to ship iWork 12 soon?
    Is lack of it causing sales of Apple stuff to decline?
    Does Apple need the revenue boost from software sales?
    davebarnes
    • Because it has MS Office for the Mac close to death

      @davebarnes
      and needs iWork 12 to finish the job.
      William Farrell
      • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

        @William Farrell I hardly think that MS Office for the Mac is dead. It's one of the best-selling apps for the Mac. What Apple really needs to do is close the feature & compatibility gap between iWork and MS Office if it wants more people to switch to using iWork.
        smulji
      • Sorry smulji

        @smulji
        I forgot to add my "sarcasm" icon ;)
        William Farrell
  • I suspect a cloud suite in the Works

    I am thinking Apple may be introducing a iCoud suite for iWorks. Its just a guess but since its been awhile since a update. I would guess some major additions and it would include mobile apps and such. Watch and wait I guess.
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
  • RE: Where the heck is iWork '12?

    Apple has never been afraid to jettison products that do not fit into its future. The future is iOS - the Mac is dead.
    Andy.K
    • And iWork is a significant app on iOS

      @Andy.K I'm not sure of your point.

      I use iWork professionally all the time and would happily upgrade to the latest version if warranted. 3 years is an IT eternity!
      Richard Flude
  • Keynote better than PowerPoint?

    Not a chance...


    But to your question, Apple isn't all that interested in personal computers anymore, they have phones to sell.
    NoAxToGrind