Speaking of Steve Jobs’ emails, Apple’s CEO has emailed a user about the upcoming iWork ’11 suite. The customer asked if the Apple TV would accept keynote presentations via iOS device or a Mac. Jobs replied: “It’s all coming soon. Stay tuned.” We were surprised when iWork ’11 wasn’t launched at Apple’s ‘Back to the Mac’ event in October. Not only has it been almost two years since Apple launched iWork ’09 in January 2009, Microsoft has just launched a spruced up version of Office for Mac. 

So why the delay? There have been some suggestions that Apple is hoping to save money by distributing it via the Mac App Store when it launches in January, thereby saving shipping and production costs. 

As for what iWork ’11 might offer, we are looking to the cloud and hoping for a better implementation of iWork.com, Apple’s tool for sharing iWork documents, spreadsheets and presentations with anyone. The service launched back in January 2009, but has never even made it out of beta. 

Final Cut, finally
Another software product that failed to get an update this year was Final Cut Studio. Last updated in July 2009, the project has apparently “faced setbacks”. In February 2010, a former Apple staffer’s Twitter post about the firing of 40 employees from the Final Cut team raised some concerns about the product’s future. In April, murmurs that the company was re-targeting the suite for a more prosumer-friendly audience prompted an email response from Steve Jobs himself, and an official statement from Apple PR: “Final Cut Pro is the first choice for professional video editors and we’ve never been more excited about its future. The next version of Final Cut is going to be awesome, and our pro customers are going to love it.” Hopefully, the pro customers will love it, because while Apple dawdles, Adobe has updated Premiere Pro and After Effects. 

What makes the situation that bit more embarrassing for Apple is that where it has criticised the likes of Adobe and Microsoft for not having produced Cocoa-based rewrites of their applications until recently, Apple’s own Final Cut Studio (as well as iTunes) are legacy Carbon apps in need of a rewrite. 

An update to Final Cut Express is also overdue. That product was last updated in November 2007, and now that Adobe is offering a competitor – Premiere Elements – it would seem like a good time to revamp it. 

iTunes ’11
Apple’s popular music and video software is currently written in Carbon, so it could not run as a 64-bit app on a Mac. If Apple wants to bring iTunes into the 64-bit world, it needs to rewrite it in Cocoa. Mac users are hoping to see a fully turbo-charged, Cocoa-fied version of iTunes. An email from Jobs hints that some of the work has already been done. When asked in May 2010: “When will Apple rewrite iTunes in Cocoa 64-bit?”, Jobs responded: “The iPod apps on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad are in Cocoa.” 

There is, however, an argument that iTunes doesn’t need to be 64-bit, especially as 64-bit would require 4GB of RAM.