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It’s a Long Wait Until June

April 3rd, 2007

Humor me. I’m going off on another Mac-is-great rant. For those who tire of this, movealongthere’snothingtoseehere.

Well, okay, so June is only a little more than two months away (if it will take until June, as many are now reporting). But in two months, something come out that I am very excited about. Specifically: Leopard. But not just Leopard: also iWork, with (most likely) a spreadsheet app that will complete the suite as an alternative to Microsoft Office, and the next version of iLife. Supposedly the suite is coming out in June, possibly June 11th. According to the lethargic and yet usually well-sourced ThinkSecret rumor site:

“Leopard is shaping up to be a more significant release than anyone expected, with much more to come than any of the developer builds have led on,” one source said.

Also scheduled for a June release now are new versions of Apple’s iLife and iWork suites, which will pack extensive Leopard-dependent features. Sources say Apple continues to toy with the idea of bundling one or both suites with the new operating system free of charge in an effort to further play up the extra value and features Mac OS X offers over Microsoft’s new Windows Vista.

… Apple’s next version of iWork, meanwhile, is poised to compete even more directly with Office with the addition of a new spreadsheet application.

One has to wonder at what Apple has up its sleeve. I have become convinced that Apple does indeed have something rather special. I refuse to believe that Steve Jobs would talk up “Top Secret” features, let rumors build for 6-9 months, and then say it was all a gag and Apple has only a tepid upgrade to release. That would be incredibly stupid, and Steve Jobs is not incredibly stupid. Obstinate, secretive, obsessive, and perhaps even egotistical, yes. But not stupid.

And if the rumor is right and Apple actually decides to sell Leopard with iLife and iWork bundled, it’s my belief that they would have a blockbuster on their hands. For just $30 more than the lowest upgrade-level pricing for Microsoft’s most-disabled version of Vista, you would get a full-featured OS at least 2-3 years ahead of Vista, bundled with most of the software you’d ever need for a computer–including an office suite comparable to what Microsoft is selling for $340. And all this would come free with the purchase of any Mac.

Bundling in iWork would be the finishing touch. When I compare a Mac and Windows purchase for my students, I always have to add a few hundred bucks for the purchase of an Office suite, as they need Excel, and can get Word and Excel bundled with most PC purchases. If I could tell them that they could get a Mac and that a full office suite–including presentations software (not offered in the PC bundle, you have to buy PowerPoint separate)–would be bundled with it, that might be enough to make even more of them decide on the Mac purchase instead of the PC.

Think about it: here’s the list of software that would come with Leopard, with most of the listed apps being integrated for cross-functionality:

  • Pages (word processor, Word-compatible)
  • Keynote (presentation, PowerPoint-compatible)
  • Numbers/Charts (spreadsheet, Excel-compatible)
  • iTunes (music/video media center, iPod Syncing)
  • iMovie (video editor)
  • iDVD (video DVD creator)
  • iPhoto (digital photo cataloging/editing)
  • iWeb (web page editor/publisher)
  • GarageBand (music publishing software)
  • Mail (email)
  • Safari (browser)
  • iCal (calendar software)
  • iChat (text/audio/video chat software)
  • Address Book
  • Time Machine (backup/recovery)
  • Dictionary
  • Dashboard / Dashcode
  • Accessory apps: PhotoBooth, Front Row, QuickTime, TextEdit, DVD Player, Preview, Automator, Applescript, and more

That would be one hell of a lineup for a $130 purchase. And even without the fact that Boot Camp and/or Parallels lets you run all Windows apps on your Mac, that whole package bundled with every Mac would shoot down most complaints about software not being available for the Mac. Most of the software that most people would ever use would come free with the machine!

If Apple does it right, of which there’s no guarantee. Still, one can dream, yes?

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