Progress Shouldn’t Mean Regression

Stephen Hackett is not a fan of the new iWork suite:

Progress is not the same thing as regression, and the latter keeps being an issue with Apple’s non-system software. Updates to applications shouldn’t drop features without good reason. Apple double-back to re-add features is clear proof that these regressions aren’t as intentional as some would believe. (Not to mention the fact that the company will keep old copies of software on users’ disks or provide old installers.)

Neither is Jean-Louis Gassée, as demonstrated in this week’s Monday Note:

[W]hat does this new fiasco say about the Apple’s management culture? The new iPhones, iPad and iOS 7 speak well of the company’s justly acclaimed attention to both strategy and implementation. Perhaps there were no cycles, no neurons, no love left for iWork. Perhaps a wise general puts the best troops on the most important battles. Then, why not regroup, wait six months and come up with an April 2014 announcement worthy of Apple’s best work?

Both of these articles are scathing, but I think they’ve both hit the nail on its head with their sentiment: Apple rushed iWork out the door and it bit them in the ass. Even the language the company used for the knowledge base article affirms this:

In rewriting these applications, some features from iWork ’09 were not available for the initial release.

I wouldn’t have minded waiting another few months for them to get iWork together, but I think their shipping target date was determined by the narrative of the October event: Mavericks, iLife, and iWork became free, at least for new owners in the case of the latter two. This was an important strategic move, but it handicapped their software delivery.