As a Vista-fugue, the main reasons for even bothering with a `Bootcamp' Windows installation were Microsoft "Office" and Intuit's "Quicken/Turbotax", both richer-featured in their PC than in their Mac releases. Disappointingly, iWork '08 'Pages' performed better as an image-based page layout package for the multimedia center crowd, proving woefully underpowered in a professional business office ... crippled by the tediously awkward conversion hassle from *.doc to *.pages documents.
No more! With iWork '09, Apple has virtually erased any remaining barrier to business office `switchers' still on the fence. I have explored and tested Pages '09 since its online release as a downloadable fully functional 30-day trial demo. I was so impressed with the new Pages (as against the flashy eye candy of the '08 version) that I ordered the full boxed version. [The trial software is well worth a test run to see if iWork meets your needs.) The new Pages now easily exports a document in doc, txt or pdf format, and does a remarkably lifelike transformation of even highly complex Word documents, tables, lists, or legal briefs with a mere double-click or drag-and drop.
Rather than spreading myself too thin, I limit this review to `Pages', leaving commentary on `Numbers' to spreadsheet buffs ... `Numbers' capabilities, in the past, were no match for the depth of MS-Excel. If `Numbers` performs as well as `Pages' in this iWork overhaul, then the product will be the best eighty bucks gift for your Mac. `Keynote', an image-with-outline presenter's tool, probably will prove at least the equal of MS-PowerPoint considering the Mac's flair for spectacular graphics.
`Pages' well may be the impressive turnaround software that elevates the Mac from multimedia center toy to serious professional business status. Highly recommended for Vista-weary PC users and Mac loyalists looking for a solid business suite. The detailed crystal-clear manuals and crisp `Help' replies are welcome value-added resources.