So amongst all the headphone jack, AirPod and Watch hullabaloo, Apple introduced some changes to iWork to make its Office suite much more than just a bundled application that arrives with your iPad or Mac and probably never gets used.
The addition of collaboration features to iWork applications may seem like a small step, but it has been a feature which Google offers in Docs and of course is a mainstay of Office 365. The absence of this capability has been a notable gap in the iWork armoury.
Does this mark a turning point for iWork, which doesn’t seem to have been a particularly valuable product for Apple thus far?
Apple’s recent iPad Pro introductions suggest that it wants to move into the PC space in a larger way and it can’t really do that based on the cut down mobile versions of Office that Microsoft offers for iOS. To be taken seriously in the consumer and prosumer space the iPad needs a real office suite that offers feature compatibility with Microsoft Office and Google Docs.
In the same way that the iPhone has eased both Microsoft and Blackberry out of the enterprise smartphone space, iWork has the potential to reduce the domination of Microsoft Office – if that is what Apple wants it to do. Large scale enterprise will always be tied to Office, because it always has been. For everyone else iWork is probably good enough. It’s a message that Google Docs has been delivering for years.
Now it appears Apple has got the message and wants to play too.
A solid office suite is exactly the sort of thing that forms the backbone of a productive services offering and as Apple pivots towards this lucrative market bringing, iWork up to feature compatibility is an important goal.
So forget the headline features you saw last week. Apple bringing its aim around to Google Docs and Office 365 is about the biggest thing to happen in technology this year. iCloud reliability and performance nothwithstanding, there’s a whole market out there just waiting for an Apple-style disruption.