It has been about two years since Apple released an iOS version of its iWork suite of Office apps, and a major upgrade might be in development.
It was big news when Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for Apple’s tablets and smartphones were introduced, but since then Apple as basically let them languish, with few improvements.
But in recent months the company has been on something of an iWork-related hiring spree, with a number of new employees hired in a variety of positions and more openings waiting for applicants. The job listing either say the jobs will involve work “on the next generation of Desktop, Mobile and Web application/services” or “Mac and iOS platforms”.
This could easily be a sign that Apple is hard at work on making significant enhancements to this suite of apps that includes equivalents to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
If Apple is in the process of upgrading iWork, there are two ways to interpret this, and both relate to the ongoing negotiations between Apple and Microsoft to bring an official version of Office to iOS
If Apple has given up on these talks, it may have decided that users of its tablets and smartphones are going to need a more robust version of iWork, and are setting out to develop it.
On the other hand, if the two companies have reached an agreement — or are close to doing so — then Apple might have realized that its iWork suite is going to need significant improvements if its going to be able to compete against Microsoft’s Office.
Or it could have nothing to do with Microsoft at all. There are a number of other Office-compatible suites available for iOS — such as Polaris Office — and iWork may be having a hard time competing against these. That might have caused Apple to set out to improve its offerings.