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iWork updates are no April Fools’ joke

The release of Office for iPad motivated me to take a second look at iWork. Today I downloaded Numbers, which was the only of the three that I hadn’t previously used. I grabbed Numbers because I needed to work with a multisheet spreadsheet and most of the inexpensive and free integrated iPad suites I tried couldn’t handle it. Documents To Go, an old favorite, was particularly disappointing since it crashed. But Numbers handled it beautifully. And then, not a few hours after I downloaded Numbers, Apple updated the entire suite to Version 2.2 with significant improvements including, for example, the ability for Keynote to export to PowerPoint .pptx format. Touche!

How good is iWork compared to Office for iPad? Really good, even at the old price of $30 for the suite So good, in fact, that Microsoft isn’t even really trying to compete directly. Office for iPad is really well done and surely a solid preview of what lies ahead for Windows, but so much of the value of the subscription really makes sense only if you’re in the Microsoft ecosystem. Kudos to Microsoft for writing a great set of applications for the iPad while tackling its monetization issue, but it sure isn’t going to expand its footprint meaningfully off its home turf.