AppleWorks 7 is the software Macworld readers want to see the most, according to an online poll.

The software was requested by 46 per cent of respondents. However, a sizeable 18 per cent of voters want to see an iPhoto 1 that works fully outside the US – with full support for online photo printing from within the application, and the much-touted hardback-photo-albums capability. 8 per cent of voters hope for iPhoto 2, though others said: "iPhoto 2, when iPhoto 1 still doesn't work outside the US, would be an insult".

Mac users want to see improvements in Apple's office suite, AppleWorks. "We need a cheap Microsoft Office," a reader cried.

Another revealed: "I run my office on AppleWorks, and asked for an upgrade for this compact and capable suite."

Pricey Microsoft's Office productivity suite remains one of its key offerings for all platforms, though many readers complain that its price is only marginally less than that of the Macs it runs on.

"Perhaps Apple should have two versions of AppleWorks: one free for consumers, and one that can compete with Microsoft," said a voter.

Readers asked that Apple make its office software suite "fully interoperable" with Microsoft Office, while others felt Apple should produce a professional version of AppleWorks to minimize the Mac community's dependence on Microsoft.

Suite deal Apple's record on updating its office suite is called into question. The suite reached version 6 in January 2000, though it has received some upgrades since that time: "AppleWorks 7 is long overdue. We should have got it years ago. We know Apple can deliver, so why aren't they? Is it politics?"

Apple's historic five-year agreement with Microsoft ended in August 2002.

8 per cent of voters hoped for an iTunes 4 release, while 16 per cent of voters wished for iMovie 3 "without the bugs that iMovie 2 didn't fix".

Some voters hope for an entry-level music-editing application based on technologies Apple acquired earlier this year from Emagic.

One voter wrote: "No doubt buying up Logic Audio will result in pro-level music software from Apple, but a two-tier release along the lines of iMovie and Final Cut Pro would be a great boost to Mac OS X 10.2's new MIDI features. It seems to be the major creative area not covered so far. It would also be a great way to promote legitimate CD/DVD burning on home machines – less 'Rip and Burn', more 'Create and Burn'."

Returning to AppleWorks, one voter wrote: "I think Apple has all the capabilities to be a major player in office-suite development, if the suite is made compatible with all the current iApps."

Microsoft's .Net strategy exploits the company's desktop OS and office tools dominance to create a selection of Web-enabled services for end users. Apple's recently announced .Mac also promises Web services, this time to Mac users, with iCal expected to launch this month.