Apple Still Makes Software, Right?

by James R. Stoup Dec 15, 2008

After seeing countless stories detailing every facet of Apple's hardware business I began to think about their software as well. Actually, I was trying to remember the last piece of software they produced. If you discount OS X your choices are Numbers and MobileMe for 2008. After that you have to go back to 2006 before you find major product releases. And while Numbers is a nice application, it isn't really a high profile product. Likewise MobileMe hasn't been the resounding winner that Apple hoped it would be either. So what happened Apple? You still remember how to write code don't you?

I for one would really love to see Apple start producing more innovating software, but more than anything I would like to see a real replacement for ClarisWorks (or AppleWorks if you will). Even with all that iWork has become, they still haven't replicated all that AppelWorks could do. In some ways I understand that Apple doesn't want to position iWork to be a direct competitor to MS Office, but on the other hand one does rapidly get tired of MS Office.

So maybe you aren't going to update iWork anytime soon. How about a games division? After all, Microsoft has one and it seems to be working out well for them. Far be it from me to suggest you copy Microsoft for the sake of copying, but occasionally even they have a good idea.

But do you know what I really want? Really and truly? I want Apple to finish the fight they started when they released Aperture and make a head on competitor to Photoshop. Don't tell me can't do it for whatever reason because Aperture proves that 1) they have the talent, 2) they have the will and 3) Adobe won't suddenly become unmanagable. I want Apple to step up and force Adobe to make something better.



  • It’s a rare occurrence that I disagree so strongly with anything posted on Apple Matters, but I’ve gotta say it: “You’re KIDDING right?”

    Does apple still know how to code!? OF COURSE THEY DO! Apple is about to finish one of it’s fastest development cycles of it’s biggest piece of software (which for some reason, Stoup glosses over), OS X.

    Aside from the fact that Apple is a hardware retailer, the fact that it can continually innovate on it’s OS, and stay so far ahead of it’s competition is evidence that Apple is still very much in the software game.

    Oh and let’s not forget the other software that they’ve written this year (and wasn’t mentioned by Stoup): updated iTunes, Bento, iPhone OS 2, and a host of other iPhone applications.

    Respectfully, you’re absolutely nuts if you think Apple has in anyway toned down their software division.

    To the point of trying to compete with Microsoft Office – they are and they’re doing it in a very smart matter. Slowly building up a suite of apps that *can* compete. It’s the smartest way I’ve seen to take on the giant. Besides, iWork does everything I need – forget MS office.

    Lastly, as a photographer – Aperture is a great piece of software. Version 2 does its job very well. (Disclaimer: I’m an avid Adobe Lightroom user, but I’ve got a healthy respect for Aperture, and have used it enough to be very comfortable in the app.)

    Neither Lightroom nor Aperture are designed to replace Photoshop. They never *should* replace Photoshop. It’s a common misperception to assume that a workflow app can replace Photoshop, but neither application can replicate Photoshop’s sheer pixel manipulation power. Yes, it’s now possible to avoid photoshop for the vast majority of a photog’s workflow, but the instant you want to retouch, or mask, or any of the host of things photoshop does, workflow applications aren’t the answer.

    This isn’t to say that Adobe doesn’t need competition – but I think Apple has already strained the relationship enough. With Final Cut, iPhoto and Aperture, Apple encroaches solidly on Adobe terrain. The relationship with Adobe has degraded to the point where they no longer work hand-in-hand like they used to in the 90s. Adobe was so caught by surprise with the manner in which Apple would be moving to 64-bit processing, that they left it out in the Mac Photoshop CS4 because (*drum roll, please*) Apple has been changing code too rapidly!!

    Mr. Stoup, I say again respectfully, Apple has in no way toned down its software division. Please stop moaning about the loss of AppleWorks, there are better solutions out there now anyway.

    *FYI: there’s a typo in the second graf: “AppelWorks”

    Joey Baker had this to say on Dec 15, 2008 Posts: 4
  • Apple doesn’t seem to be producing software that I can buy (I’m not one of the select who can use iPhones).  Sure, I upgrade the software I already have.  And they added some features I don’t use when they renamed Mobile Me.

    Maybe they’re being innovative and will come up with Blu-ray support before everybody else.  Or maybe before someone else.  If it’s not too late.  But that’s more hardware support.  It’s applications we’re talking here.  I suppose they’re working on some right now.  And have been working on them for the last few years.  And they will be ready Real Soon Now with this long delay.

    Howard Brazee had this to say on Dec 15, 2008 Posts: 54
  • Joey, I think James was referring to application software, which counts OS X out, and referring to the Mac platform, which counts out the iPhone.

    And then the landscape of releases is rather barren.

    However, I suspect Apple has been focusing all its energies on the iPhone, the App Store, MobileMe and Snow Leopard.

    My dream, like lots of folks, is they’ll spring a big surprise on us and announce at MWSF that iWork is going online. And then we’ll know what their developers have been up to. smile If they do, I reckon I just might rejoin MobileMe which I dropped in its .Mac days.

    I’d still also like to see a Windows version of iPhoto so switching from Windows to Mac can be so much easier.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Dec 15, 2008 Posts: 1209
  • “I’d still also like to see a Windows version of iPhoto so switching from Windows to Mac can be so much easier.”

    And vice versa.  wink

    I use Final Cut Studio.  That’s a niche product, granted, but there’s been some decent development in that suite.

    Other than that, I can’t say there’s a lot I’m hankering for from Apple.  What other space have they gotten into that isn’t simply a value-add to OS X (iLife, iWork)?

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Dec 16, 2008 Posts: 2220
  • @CaptnJack – you’re absolutely right. I suppose I that’s what I get for not proofreading my own work.

    @ALL - sure, if you eliminate all the fields that Apple HAS been working on, it sure would appear that they’ve been doing very little.

    I think that asking Apple to produce “added-value” products is a bit much. It’s not really Apple’s job to do that – they provide the platform – 3rd parties develop. I mean… look at MS. They’ve got office and games (plus the occasional other piece of soft. that no one uses). Apple has an office suite, top-of-the-line creative apps, and top-of-the-line database apps, etc…

    I’m just arguing that ya’ll are being a bit unreasonable. Let Apple focus on this mobile thing (I’m not an iPhone user either … yet) and we’ll see what happens.

    Most importantly: Apple is a HARDWARE retailer.

    Joey Baker had this to say on Dec 16, 2008 Posts: 4
  • Bottom line - Apple is a hardware company.  They provide software purely to make their hardware more attractive, and they’ve stated as much. 

    They’ve learned to walk a fine line since they screwed this part up in the 80’s: you make just enough software to attract the average-to-above-average user to your hardware, but not so much that you scare or piss-off your developers - your platform is dependent upon the viability of that third-party ecosystem.  It’s the reason they ended up spinning off Appleworks into Claris.

    Yes, they do produce “value-added” products, and what they can’t produce in-house they acquire.  But they realize the limits they are working with.  Notice how they go out of their way not to market iWork as a full-fledged alternative to MS Office.  They also purposely leave holes in their OS and other applications, nitches they hope third-party developers will fill.

    tmsmqwx had this to say on Feb 17, 2009 Posts: 3
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