It’s a shame Apple is playing ‘me-too’ with iWork when everyone else is pushing the envelope

Apple iWork
Apple iWork Apple

On Wednesday, Apple held its annual fall press conference where it announced its new line up of apps and devices. The big news for Apple’s iWork apps was that Apple has now added real-time collaboration.

iWork is Apple’s answer to Microsoft Office and Google Apps, including a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software.

With real time collaboration, you can invite people into a document and everyone can work on it together, at once, one document. It’s kind of freaky to use, because you can watch other people typing in the document.

But this is just a me-too, catch up feature. Google Apps pioneered real-time collaboration and has had it for years. So has Microsoft.

This didn’t escape notice of people watching the presentation.

Apple has never really been known as a leader in business apps. Yet Apple wants to make its tablets, phones and PCs more attractive to businesses. So, with all the innovative things that Apple is doing with its hardware, its operating systems, and Siri, it’s sort of a shame that the company is keeping iWork in a me-too category instead of pushing the envelope with it.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is baking all kinds of new machine-learning apps into MS Office, including a whole new work sharing app called GigJam, an app that you can even control with your voice.

Even companies like Salesforce are getting into the Office documents game, with its recent purchase of Quip.  It wants to bake productivity applications into all of its other apps, and then add a layer of machine learning intelligence on top of all of that, and sees Quip as its entrance into a $26 billion market.

However, the one advantage iWork has over these other two is its price. It’s free. While that price is unbeatable, it doesn’t help Apple’s reputation for being an innovative tech company.

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