Friday, January 2, 2009

iWork, iMovie to move online?

9to5Mac claims that Apple will be announcing at Macworld that the next version of iWork will be composed of web-based applications. According to the rumor site, that means the future versions of Numbers, Pages and Keynote will be entirely browser based. (Note that this does not necessarily mean that native Mac versions will not also co-exist.)

Apple's move into web-based applications has been clear with the release of MobileMe's extensive Mail and Address Book applications composed entirely out of web-based technologies such as Javascript. In fact, there had previously been talk of an entire "Webkit-based" platform after Apple had adopted the SproutCore framework for use in MobileMe.

Developers have been constantly pushing the boundaries of what a web application can accomplish. 280 Slides is an example of a browser-based version of Keynote/Powerpoint written by former Apple employees. 

In a Computerworld blog entry, Seth Weintraub of 9to5Mac follows up on yesterday's rumor of iWork becoming a suite of web-based applications with a new report regarding a similar update to iMovie due at Macworld next week.

Weintraub specifically points to several benefits of integrating iMovie into MobileMe's "cloud":
iMovie in the Cloud would also offer users the ability to easily view their movies on iPod Touches or iPhones. If the application is entirely Web based, it means that potential customers include the "other 90%" of users who use Windows.
The release of iMovie '08 in August 2007 received a number of complaints that ultimately resulted in Apple offering purchasers of iLife '08 the ability to download the previous version, iMovie HD 6, free of charge.

Weintraub seems uncertain if this move means that iMovie (or iWork) will become a web application only or if the "cloud" component is simply an add-on to the native Mac versions. From a practical standpoint, it would seem that for high definition video, the Mac version would remain as it currently is.
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