We’ve been talking a lot lately about the perks and perils of Microsoft Office, especially the program you begrudgingly used to write your college papers: Word. In what appears to be an unrelated move, Apple just made a whole host of productivity apps free. Get excited for Pages! (Borat voice: “Not!”)
But seriously, this is not bad news. Apple’s word processor (Pages), spreadsheet program (Numbers), and presentation software (Keynote) are all free to download for both macOS and iOS. GarageBand and iMovie are also free, if you’re feeling creative. Many of these apps were free when they launched, and then Apple decided to charge people to use them. Now, they’re free again. Life comes at you fast.
Don’t go starting a new word processing-based business quite yet, though. Apple’s productivity apps are not exactly awesome. While Keynote earned praise early on for being a slight improvement over Microsoft PowerPoint, Pages and Number seem like good ol’ college tries at replacements for MS Word and Excel—attempts that fall well short of coaxing Microsoft loyalists over to the Apple family. Meanwhile, GarageBand and iMovie are perfectly acceptable alternatives to applications like Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro. However, they’re far from replacements if you’re looking to do serious audio production or video editing.
But hey, who can argue with free software? Google Docs has done a great job of winning over users who want to do some basic Office-type stuff without asking them to pay for it. The open-source LibreOffice suite also does a better job at serving as a Microsoft Office replacement without forcing people to pay money for the software. We also know that not everybody gets to pick and choose which productivity apps they use at work, since many companies offer MS Office and only MS Office. So you might be stuck with that.
If you’re not stuck, try Apple’s newly free again software. You might hate it, but it’s hard to hate something that’s free.