So, 24 hours have passed since the Apples ``big announcements" yesterday. Although the iMacs look nice, in many respects they were just more of the same; an evolutionary step instead of a revolutionary one. I like the look of the new iPhoto and might be able to move from Aperture over to it in the near future, I hope it gives me everything I need.
The announcement I'm really excited about is Numbers, the new spreadsheet program in iWork '08. I picked up a copy of iWork (as well as the new iLife) on the way home last night and stared playing with the software when I got home. I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised by Numbers.
First off, some background. I'm not an excel maven. I have a number of (smaller) spreadsheet, basically personal and business budgeting, hours tracking, and invoicing. I suspect like 80% of excel users, it's a more advanced checkbook program. I don't even know what a pivot table is, other then the thing you use in conversion to sound like you know more about excel then everyone else in the room. Generally speaking if something is that complex I write a program or use mathematica.
In the little bit I've played with it I've been impressed. The standard syntax is there (=D3*b5) but you can use row and column headers instead (=Hours Monday * Rate Hourly) making your spreadsheet more readable and workable. Adding charts and such seem to be a snap.
To be honest, this is not a program for folks that need to do modeling. If you are predicting stock movements, rating mutual funds or figuring out the next digit of PI, this is not the tool for you. However if you're in the 80% of folks who use a spreadsheet for simpler tasks, I'd suggest giving it a look. In a week or so I'll post a followup article telling you how it's working out for me.