Pros Keynote, excellent graphics
Cons No e-mail client, Word is deeper, Excel is deeper
Summary As a user of Powerpoint, when Keynote was released, it was a breath of fresh air. Keynote is the absolute standout in this office suite. Keynote is easier to use, looks prettier, has better transitions, and it's easier to add photos and multimedia than Powerpoint. It's the best presentation software I've ever used.
Pages is Word... lite. If I'm typing a letter, I'm going to use word. If I'm typing a paper, Word's formatting is stronger. Apple does have great templates, and on-line video help is strong. But Word really rules the word-processing world. The notebook in Word is fantastic, and I use it often, especially when keeping notes on a meeting. I love its audio recording capabilities. If I were Apple, I'd strenthen Pages in specific areas. Word is a very poor environment to write a script for video or film. I'd make Pages very script friendly. Allow a user to access columns independent from each other. Apple has stong video apps, allowing script integration through Pages, linking scripts to Final Cut or iMovie easily would make Pages more acceptable. Pages just falls short in a lot of areas.
Numbers is missing templates, there are only a few. The charts look great, but for basic spreadsheets, Excel is wonderful, and I'm not certain of where Apple is trying to place these apps in the market. Perhaps they have better small business and hope application than in an actual office setting.
Entourage. Where's the Apple answer? Certainly Mail is nowhere near as fleshed out as Entourage, and I still can't bring myself to switch.
Where's the project management software? Entourage is great at keeping documents and e-mails, addresses and phone numbers pertaining to a project linked up for easy access. To do the same in just an Apple environment, I'd be opening iCal, Address Book, Mail, and Pages, just to do the work of Entourage.
So it gets a 5, because the select things it does it does well, but it's not an Office killer. Keynote is the really the best entry and worth the 80 bucks. I love Apple, I work exclusively on the Mac, but these apps are more like toys and amusement than actual productive applications... except, of course, Keynote.
Pros Keynote is the best presentation software available
Cons Totally lacking the intuitive Macintosh user interface
Summary I bought the original iWork '06 and the new iWork is a dramatic improvement. One noticeable difference is the speed improvement in using Pages. Commands are snappier. However, the entire "Inspector" pallet paradigm is poor as it leaves some formatting only available in the menu. Apple could really learn from Microsoft's floating transparent pallet that keeps you from going to the menu bar. Also it is insane that the Font selection dialogue box does not display the fonts in addition to their names. This is interface 101. What gives? The same is true in iMovie and the rest of the iLife suite of applications.
Pros Makes doing presentations, docs and spreadsheets easy and fun
Cons No windows version, some interoperability issues
Summary Compared to Office this whole package is a joy to use. Sutre it has a learning curve - it's not actually Office so it does things a little different. However the interface has been designed from the ground up based on how people (certainly ike me) actually do things. If you're a power user for any of the Office apps, then no, this probably isn't for you. For everyone else though, this is one hell of an improvement. Bring on a Windows version.
It's a pity the opening and saving of Office docs isn't a little better and more streamlined though.
Pros Good value for money
Cons No Open Office compatibility
Summary Have used iWork since inception, this is clearly the best version yet.
P: I like the new split between page layout/word processor.
C: I would prefer that you could save as a document rather that export.
P: Great transitions and special effects.
C: Files sizes can easily become large.
P: Easy of use, great layout and print view.
C: No password protection of sheets
"Excellent, intuitive, package that does most things Office users want, and some things better"on by Rod Hagen
Pros Clean, intuitive, interface. Makes tricky things easy.
Cons No database or direct interchange with Filemaker or Endnotes.
Summary I started using MS Word with version 1 and stuck with it through to Office 2004. I had a lot of "investment" in knowing how to do things with it.
Today, though, I find I pretty much always use Pages for word-processing unless I have a powerful reason for sticking with Office. The new version has pretty much completed my "conversion".
1) if you are putting together a substantial document requiring extensive integrated graphics, neat text wrap, variable formatting and the like, it is easier and faster to do with Pages than with Word.
2) If you want to simply whip out a simple few pages some purpose, Pages still wins because of the clean, simple, user interface.
"Keynote" has always had the edge over Powerpoint. Even PC "hard noses' that I work with usually prefer me to whip their stuff into Keynotes and then use it from my Mac rather than leaving it in Powerpoint.
"Numbers" is new, and still needs the addition of some bells and whistles for full "compatibility" and "functionality", but it, too, makes good presentation a breeze compared with Excel. Not for the hardest nosed number crunchers yet, perhaps, though it is still a very powerful program for such things, with an excellent set of functions, but it beats the pants off Excel if you want to produce something quickly with numbers or tables that actually looks good.
I'd still like to see proper integration with Filemaker, or perhaps a Filemaker compatible database component added, though
All in all, I'm very impressed. For many Mac users it really makes sense as the "first choice" for a work package, not because it is cheaper than MS Office, but because it actually does many things better and more intuitively.