Rumor: Apple planning cloud-based iWork suite for iPad to fight MS Office

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple is reportedly working with VMware to bring a cloud-based, business oriented version of its iWork suite of apps to the iPad, with the partnership said to be directed squarely at Microsoft's rumored release of Office for iOS.

iWork


According to CRN, people familiar with the project claim that the initiative looks to undercut Microsoft's exorbitant pricing for MS Office by offering a cloud-hosted version of Apple's iWork suite, which includes Pages, Keynote and Numbers.

"Apple wants Pages to be seen as a replacement for Microsoft Word, Numbers as a replacement for Excel and Keynote as a replacement for PowerPoint," one of the sources said.

The system is thought to incorporate VMware View virtual desktop software with cloud versions of Pages, Keynote and Numbers, which will be running on Apple's servers. Interestingly, the service will be separate from iCloud, which currently hosts "Document in the Cloud" for syncing and downloading files between iOS and OS X devices.

As iWork has traditionally been aimed at consumers, the rumored partnership could yield a totally separate offering for enterprise class customers, with the cloud-based software offering a more powerful set of features when compared to iCloud.

It appears that the rumored suite will be a central hub for business customers as the two companies are looking to leverage Horizon Mobile, VMware's software that allows personal and business apps and data to be stored on two different partitions, alleviating IT concerns with the bring your own device (BYOD) movement. Also part of the solution is VMware's Horizon Application Manager, a tool sometimes described as an app store for enterprise.

Not much is known about how Apple plans to implement the project, though it could feasibly be compatible with machines running Windows. This would account for VMware's contributions, including Virtual View, as well as the purported suite's location on non-iCloud servers.

The source failed to offer a launch timetable, however the rumored solution could debut before Microsoft releases an expected iOS version of MS Office in March 2013.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56


    Why in the world would VMWare have anything to do with this? Apple would do their own thing or directly buy a company needed to do it their way. 

  • Reply 2 of 56
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member
    Pages is nowhere near as powerful as Word. Take references, they are impossible in Pages, and Word does this natively. Actually, Framemaker is the best word processor ever designed.

    On the other hand, Numbers could be a contender.
  • Reply 3 of 56


    Originally Posted by kkerst View Post

    Pages is nowhere near as powerful as Word. Take references, they are impossible in Pages, and Word does this natively. Actually, Framemaker is the best word processor ever designed.

    On the other hand, Numbers could be a contender.


     


    Huh? Did you mix up these names? And how are references impossible?

  • Reply 4 of 56
    Keynote already beats PowerPoint, but neither Pages nor Numbers have the power of Word or Excel. Apple needs to bring these productions up a couple of notches in power. If they leave the bloatness and bugs that MS puts into their products, Apple could have strong winners.
  • Reply 5 of 56
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kkerst View Post



    Pages is nowhere near as powerful as Word. Take references, they are impossible in Pages, and Word does this natively. Actually, Framemaker is the best word processor ever designed.

    On the other hand, Numbers could be a contender.


     


     


    Pages does footnotes. Easily. 

  • Reply 6 of 56
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Huh? Did you mix up these names? And how are references impossible?



     


    Footnotes were impossible in Pages on iOS until fairly recently.  Probably means that. 


     


    Framemaker was good for large structured documents (not "word processing" per se), when it was at Sun.  Anyone who still uses the "Framemaker rules" meme is kind of outing themselves as someone so old and out of touch that they probably shouldn't be taken seriously.  Besides, Adobe ruined Framemaker years ago as they do with everything they touch.  

  • Reply 7 of 56

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kkerst View Post



    Pages is nowhere near as powerful as Word. Take references, they are impossible in Pages, and Word does this natively. Actually, Framemaker is the best word processor ever designed.

    On the other hand, Numbers could be a contender.


     


    Pages is much closer to Word in terms of features compared to Numbers and Excel. But both Pages and Numbers are very very poor substitutes for business needs. 


     


    Keynote is great, just wish it would render PowerPoint presentations correctly.

  • Reply 8 of 56
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    "Apple wants Pages to be seen as a replacement for Microsoft Word, Numbers as a replacement for Excel and Keynote as a replacement for PowerPoint%u201D

    I am highly suspicious that Apple has no such plans.
  • Reply 9 of 56
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,404member
    1. I agree that Framemaker is way better than Word.

    2. What the heck has VMware has got to do with this?

    3. I don't think Apple [I]wants[/I] to take on MS Office, they simply wouldn't have the time to create all the products in that package:

    Word
    Excel
    PowerPoint
    Outlook
    Access
    Lync
    SharePoint Server
    Office 365
    Communicator
    Live Meeting
    OneNote
    Project
    Project Online
    Project Server
    Publisher
    Visio
    Accounting
    FrontPage
    Groove
    InfoPath
    Dashboard Designer
    Search Server
    SharePoint Designer
    SharePoint Foundation
    SharePoint Online
    SharePoint Workspace
    Small Business Accounting
    Windows SharePoint Services
  • Reply 10 of 56
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Interesting. If Apple is serious about migrating consumer Macs to 64-bit quad-core ARM chips (of their own design) in the next few years, they'll need to beef up iWork first. Apple can't assume that Microsoft will ever port Mac Office to ARM-based Macs running OS X. Better to beef up iWork to replace Office.
  • Reply 11 of 56
    If executed right, this can definitely be an excellent solution for SMB's. For the enterprise, I highly doubt they'll go to iWork. Keynote is a great app but Pages & Numbers don't hold a candle to Word & Excel, not only in terms of functionality but also compatibility with Office documents.

    Apple will have to seriously update iWork if it wants this catch on in enterprise settings.
  • Reply 12 of 56
    mikeb85mikeb85 Posts: 506member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post



    2. What the heck has VMware has got to do with this?

     


     


    VMWare provides, among other things, cloud computing services.   Which Apple has historically been very bad at...  

  • Reply 13 of 56
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post



    1. I agree that Framemaker is way better than Word.

    2. What the heck has VMware has got to do with this?

    3. I don't think Apple wants to take on MS Office, they simply wouldn't have the time to create all the products in that package:

    Word

    Excel

    PowerPoint

    Outlook

    Access

    Lync

    SharePoint Server

    Office 365

    Communicator

    Live Meeting

    OneNote

    Project

    Project Online

    Project Server

    Publisher

    Visio

    Accounting

    FrontPage

    Groove

    InfoPath

    Dashboard Designer

    Search Server

    SharePoint Designer

    SharePoint Foundation

    SharePoint Online

    SharePoint Workspace

    Small Business Accounting

    Windows SharePoint Services


     


    I would venture that any product that includes all this useless dreck is actually a bad product and shouldn't be imitated at all. 


     


    The value in an Office alternative would be in doing it right for the first time by *not* copying everything Microsoft has done.  By starting from the ground up and re-imagining the entire product they could get to a much better place than trying to copy Microsoft.  It's more or less what they are doing already, but so far they have stopped short of taking iWork to what could be called a "professional" level.  


     


    Personally I think the answer is in focussing on keeping it individual apps instead of a "suite."  The minute you get the mindset that it's a complete suite and that it should have enough in it to "satisfy everyone" then you have arrived at the gigantic unwieldy mess that is Microsoft Office.  

  • Reply 14 of 56
    z3r0z3r0 Posts: 228member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Why in the world would VMWare have anything to do with this? Apple would do their own thing or directly buy a company needed to do it their way. 



     


    VMware is made up of a lot of ex-Apple talent (118)


     


    http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-where-all-that-talent-leaving-apple-ends-up-2012-4?op=1


     


    Perhaps something is afoot? Though, I'd like to see Apple gobble up the new Sun http://joyent.com


     


    Maybe all this is a precursor to Apple's big entrance into enterprise.

  • Reply 15 of 56
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Huh? Did you mix up these names? And how are references impossible?



    No, Pages does not do references. A footnote is not exactly the same. For example, if I have a list of numbered items: 


     


    1) Some kind of text here


    2) More text here


    3) Even more text here


     


    And somewhere else within the document I have text in a paragraph similar to:  


     


    "This doodad is used for some really useful. For detailed information please see reference 1)"  <-- this is numbered item 1) above (or index of references in Framemaker) 


     


    This is not a footnote, this is a reference I'm talking about. You can't do that in Pages, impossible and it astounds me that they have never added that ability to Pages. I have even sent a request to Apple about it. You can do this is Word simple. 


     


    While I'm on my pedestal here, here's another thing that burns me about Pages. In Word, I can have different number headings: 


     


    1 Heading 1


     1.0 Subheading 1


     1.1 Subheading 2


    2 Heading 2


     2.0 Subheading 1


     2.1 Subheading 2


     


    Can't do that in pages, it restarts the subheading 1.0 under each new heading. Why can't I use the current heading as continued number for my subheading??? You get this instead


     


     


    1 Heading 1


     1.0 Subheading 1


     1.1 Subheading 2


    2 Heading 2


     1.0 Subheading 1


     1.1 Subheading 2


     


    Pages is very limiting. 

  • Reply 16 of 56
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by z3r0 View Post


     


    ... I'd like to see Apple gobble up the new Sun http://joyent.com


     


    Maybe all this is a precursor to Apple's big entrance into enterprise.



     


    Why?  and ... why?


     


    "Getting into Enterprise" is what destroyed any chance Microsoft ever had of winning the consumer market.  The consumer market is also more rewarding financially and is now leading the corporate market by the nose.  


     


    Jumping into the corporate market (something Apple has *always* sucked at anyway), would be a giant step backwards today.  It would ruin the company IMO.  

  • Reply 17 of 56
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kkerst View Post


    No, Pages does not do references. A footnote is not exactly the same. For example, if I have a list of numbered items: 


     


    1) Some kind of text here


    2) More text here


    3) Even more text here


     


    And somewhere else within the document I have text in a paragraph similar to:  


     


    "This doodad is used for some really useful. For detailed information please see reference 1)"  <-- this is numbered item 1) above (or index of references in Framemaker) 


     


    This is not a footnote, this is a reference I'm talking about. You can't do that in Pages, impossible and it astounds me that they have never added that ability to Pages. I have even sent a request to Apple about it. You can do this is Word simple. 


     


    While I'm on my pedestal here, here's another thing that burns me about Pages. In Word, I can have different number headings: 


     


    1 Heading 1


     1.0 Subheading 1


     1.1 Subheading 2


    2 Heading 2


     2.0 Subheading 1


     2.1 Subheading 2


     


    Can't do that in pages, it restarts the subheading 1.0 under each new heading. Why can't I use the current heading as continued number for my subheading??? You get this instead


     


     


    1 Heading 1


     1.0 Subheading 1


     1.1 Subheading 2


    2 Heading 2


     1.0 Subheading 1


     1.1 Subheading 2


     


    Pages is very limiting. 



     


    Your first example is a perfect example of a badly formatted document.  You want hyperlinks inside the document as if it was a web page instead of "proper" references as they normally occur in documents.  Even so, I'm pretty sure you could do it with a bookmark which works almost the exact same way. 


     


    Your second example is a small problem that most users will never come across and is hardly evidence of how "limiting" Pages is.  All you are really saying is that the list doesn't format this way *automatically* when you make it in the same way as you would in Word.  It's not impossible to make the list and to make it exactly as you describe.  I just did it myself to be certain.  


     


    These kind of unreasonable demands ("Pages must do everything Word does in exactly the same way!!!"), are half the problem.  The attitude that Word should do *everything* for every user and do it automatically is the very reason why Word is such a bloated mess in the first place.  

  • Reply 18 of 56
    Sounds great to me... but I sure wish they would do something with the desktop versions of iWork - you know, the ones that their customers actually use.
  • Reply 19 of 56


    Originally Posted by MacGizmo View Post

    …you know, the ones that their customers actually use.


     


    Cue dozens of citations of how foolish a statement this is, including my own.

  • Reply 20 of 56
    kkerstkkerst Posts: 330member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    Your first example is a perfect example of a badly formatted document.  You want hyperlinks inside the document as if it was a web page instead of "proper" references as they normally occur in documents.  Even so, I'm pretty sure you could do it with a bookmark which works almost the exact same way. 


     


    Your second example is a small problem that most users will never come across and is hardly evidence of how "limiting" Pages is.  All you are really saying is that the list doesn't format this way *automatically* when you make it in the same way as you would in Word.  It's not impossible to make the list and to make it exactly as you describe.  I just did it myself to be certain.  


     


    These kind of unreasonable demands ("Pages must do everything Word does in exactly the same way!!!"), are half the problem.  The attitude that Word should do *everything* for every user and do it automatically is the very reason why Word is such a bloated mess in the first place.  



     


    I really don't care about hyperlinking inside the same document. I do care about a citation or a cross reference that can be auto updated throughout the entire document without me having to search all the places I made the cross reference. Seems like an easy feature to add to me. 


     


    For my second example, if there's a way to do it on the iOS version of Pages, I'm completely open to understanding how to do it. Maybe this ability only exists on the OS X version because I can't find out to do it on the iOS version. 

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