An upgrade to iWork and iLife is almost guaranteed for Wednesday, so I thought I’d share my hopes for the software bundles. These aren’t necessarily predictions. Instead, they’re the things that kinda drive me nuts about the two suites and which I hope to see fixed.
iPhoto is my picture storage solution, especially now that I use Snow Leopard’s Services to allow any app to pull images from iPhoto. This is very handy in PowerPoint; I have an event called Presentation Images: images I think are great to be used in presentations. PowerPoint can’t access iPhoto on its own, but using Services, it can.
Ever since iPhoto went to the event-based storage system, though, it’s been driving me nuts on imports. It’s pretty rare I’ve gone to an actual event. Instead I end up taking a few pictures of something interesting on my iPhone. Instead of just automatically creating Events, I’d like to see some greater intelligence here. At the import screen I should be able to specify which photos actually are part of an event, and which should go into a slush pile I can sort out later.
I’d also like to see better integration with Flickr and Facebook. I want iPhoto to go both ways, and also download any photos I’ve added to that set via Flickr or Facebook from other sources.
Like many people, I mourned when iMovie took away the timeline. iMovie ’09 is a little better, but I’d still like to see it bridge the gap to Final Cut Express with better timeline integration.
I’d also like to see it become a better screencasting tool. Now that Snow Leopard can record my screen, I’d like to see them borrow some of the features of ScreenFlow and integrate them.
It’s unlikely my biggest annoyance with Pages — the inability to quickly open a Word document, make a change, and save without needing to export — is likely to ever get changed due to how Pages handles importing and exporting. I can dream, though, and in my dream the process works much more smoothly.
One area I think Pages is seriously lacking in is academic uses. While Pages ’09 introduced easier citation and equation management, those features require third-party add ons. Word 2011, due out Oct. 26, handles both of those in-app. Apple really shouldn’t be slacking on features that could help it penetrate the education market even further.
Numbers often gets a bad rap because it’s not Excel, but I’ve personally never hit many walls in Numbers. That said, I’m pretty much the app’s target audience: someone who does light billing and spreadsheet work, or maybe needs to gussy up a chart for a presentation. That said, the biggest complaint I tend to run across from others who are more demanding with their spreadsheet software is “no pivot tables.” So, um, go pivot tables?
I don’t really have a big wish-list for Keynote, although PowerPoint 2011′s layering feature would be very handy. The biggest problem I have with Apple’s presentation tool isn’t really with the desktop application; it’s with handing off presentations to the iPad. I tend to use a lot of non-standard fonts in my presentations, which get completely mangled when I show them on the iPad. So, what I’d love in Keynote is the ability to save a version for the iPad that will properly display my fonts, let me drive the presentation, and make any last-minute changes.
Office for PC has one feature I’ve been longing for in iWork: the OLE framework, which makes it very easy to embed editable elements. So, I can drop an Excel table or chart into Word and be able to make changes to that. iWork would really benefit from better cross-app integration.
I don’t think my demands are too extreme, but I also have little faith that we’ll see many of these changes implemented, which is a shame, because in my opinion, these are the major problems holding the iSuites back from a user experience perspective, something Apple should be all about. If rumors are right, we’ll see how far off the mark Apple is when iWork ships on Oct. 20.
What are you hoping for or expecting from updated iWork and iLife suites?
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