We are approaching the end of March, three months into the new year, and a few weeks before the release of the first iPad variants in the US.
This is fifteen months out from the last iWork upgrade, taking one of its apps, Keynote, from version 4 to version 5. And we know that version 6 is waiting in the wings, if its showing at the iPad formal release this past January 27 in the hands of its most famous “beta tester” Steve Jobs can be relied upon, left.
Keynote has a special place I think in Jobs’ heart, given his use of Keynote and its ancestors in the NeXT days of exile, and since 2003 when he began to use it publicly in his keynotes. Each public display had Keynote aficionados like myself watching for new transitions and builds.
We saw a few this past January, confirming the likelihood of not just a minor upgrade but a major one. In the past, when Apple has updated Keynote in point form, e.g. 5.0 to 5.0.1, it referenced only minor bug fixes, but no new functionality such as MagicMove when transiting from Keynote 4 to Keynote 5. (Some of these new builds are below.)
I am aware that the iWork team, particularly the Keynote team, are working to a deadline to have the iWork apps ready for sale on the iTunes App store in time for the official delivery of the launch iPad Wifi-only units April 3. The apps contain familiar elements from the desktop iWork applications, although with respect to Keynote, it only contains twelve familiar “themes”. While video of the iPad shows some variation from the desktop applications, keen users ought to have little difficulty adapting to the iPad’s ways.
One wonders if third party themes will be allowed to be included – here’s a way Apple can “contain” those themes it doesn’t like because they perhaps contain background animations which will, I predict, become very popular, but which Apple doesn’t like. If it did, Apple would have done them themselves by now, but clearly the current Apple hardware and software doesn’t play nice quite yet, not allowing smooth reliable transitions from one background animation to another. See the YouTube video I created below to see what happens even when you use no transition through a slow dissolve and one other transition.
In fact, I had to use a screen movie maker (Screenflow) to make this video, as Keynote fell over everytime I tried to export it to Quicktime, below.
The Keynote app. also contains some new elements not yet seen in desktop Keynote, and makes the iPad an ideal small group standalone demonstration tool, as well as a great presentation assistant when attached (by cable or wireless variant) to a data projector. Note the screen shots from this TidBits video showing new highlighting tools and “laser” call out tools, below, recorded at the iPad official announcement, January 27.
I’m going to predict that while we know a new version of Keynote exists and has been demonstrated to us, the likely time for its release is just before or at the time of iPads being delivered into users’ hands, April 3. It makes sense to have compatibility between Keynote App and Keynote Desktop. We have seen unique elements displayed for each, so a synchronisation with a Keynote desktop update to allow files created on either platform to be shared is a no-brainer.
There are two questions to be asked then: Will the release of the Keynote Desktop application be timed to coincide with the iPad’s delivery date (along with the other iWork apps.), and what other new elements, many of which have been asked by Keynote users for many years (myself included) might be included?
I think we’ll only have to wait a few weeks to find out. It’s especially important it happen soon, with the release of a much beefed up Powerpoint 10 only nine weeks away.