Testing out Apple’s new software

Seems like the geekosphere is pretty disappointed with Apple’s offerings at this year’s MacWorld conference. There was only one new hardware product, a 17-inch Mac laptop that doesn’t offer much new other than a longer-lived, non-removable battery.

But I’m not in the market for new hardware this year, so I was actually more interested in the software products that took center-stage at this year’s convention. I use Numbers almost every day to create the graphs for Cognitive Daily, so I was very interested to see if it was an improvement on last year’s version.

I haven’t yet had a chance to test it thoroughly, but at first pass it looks pretty good. Several key graph types have been added — most critically scatter plots and trendlines. And finally you can rotate the column headings!

This graph actually charts reader response to the keynote on MacRumors.com. As you can see, Mac fans were largely ambivalent about the software updates, divided about MacBook Pro, and overall, very negative about the keynote. But more importantly, I can now actually fit the column-headings under each column. Hooray!

One rather annoying quirk in the first version of Numbers was an incompatibility between the formatting of numbers on the spreadsheet and the graphs. If you formatted a number as a percentage on the sheet, the number was converted (behind the scenes) to a decimal: 25% = 0.25. But when you tried to graph it, the number would display as 0.25%. Oops. This is now fixed:

Of course, this is the way things should have worked from the start, but it’s good to see that Apple’s fixing bugs with this update, not just adding new whiz-bang features.

I’ll probably have more on Numbers later; that’s it for now!

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