AppleWorks, at one point the industry's best-selling consumer software, has finally been laid to rest at the age of 23.
Visits to AppleWorks' former URL now redirect users to Apple's iWork '08 instead.
AppleWorks – unveiled in 1984 for the 8-bit Apple II – was one of the first office suites, combining word processing, spreadsheet and database. By 1991, it had mutated into ClarisWorks, a Macintosh collection that combined the original trio with graphics and communications tools. A Windows version appeared in 1993.
As Claris focused on developing and marketing the popular FileMaker Pro database, eventually rechristening itself FileMaker Inc in the process, the suite returned to Apple, which closed the circle and renamed it AppleWorks.
AppleWorks was ultimately updated for Mac OS X and given a crude presentation maker, but it never received a Universal binary facelift after Apple moved its machines to Intel processor. In 2005, AppleWorks was shoved into the deep shadows as iWork debuted. That suite - originally just Pages, a word processing and page layout application, and Keynote, a presentation-making rival to Microsoft PowerPoint - was always seen as the next AppleWorks.
When Apple introduced iWork '05, senior vice president of applications Sina Tamaddon said that the company was "building the successor to AppleWorks." To many, however, the boast rang false, since iWork lacked a spreadsheet, one of the key pillars of AppleWorks, or any other application suite.
That changed with iWork '08's release last week. The newest application bundled in iWork, Numbers, offers users spreadsheet software and visual display tools.
Apple did not hold a wake or post an obituary for AppleWorks, perhaps because, while the suite is dead, its documents aren't necessarily gone. iWork '08, in fact, makes a point to import AppleWorks word processing, presentation and spreadsheet files.
"If you have AppleWorks documents, you can give them a brand-new home in Numbers," Apple touts in its on-site marketing of iWork.
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