Apple Preps Productivity Update

Version 6.2.7 of AppleWorks will feature enhanced presentation and spreadsheet modules, sources said.

Apple Computer Inc. is on the verge of releasing a minor update to its AppleWorks 6 productivity suite.

Sources said that the update, Version 6.2.7, will include improvements to AppleWorks presentation and spreadsheet modules. The new release will also ship with several international spelling dictionaries—English, French, Italian and Spanish—and will boast improved spell-checking with user-added words.

AppleWorks 6.2.7 will also make further compatibility inroads for Windows, with better handling of Office 97 and 2000 files.

Other changes will reportedly include enhancements to AppleScript, labels, Web content searching, printing, table support and Web-based templates, as well as improved support for multimedia files and Web links within documents.

Sources said they expect Apple to post a free software updater online on Wednesday.

Apple recently updated its AppleWorks Web site to reflect the higher version number, but the pages dont mention new features, and a link remains to the previous software updater, Version 6.2.4, released last year.

The first hint of the 6.2.7 update came in early April, when it was quietly added to Apples online store along with a new box design and an estimated shipping time of 7 to 10 days. At press time, the wait had been trimmed to 3 to 5 days, indicating that retail copies of the new version will soon reach resellers and online buyers.

Alongside the new version, Apple plans to usher in a new purchasing option for education buyers, dubbed "home use licensing." Through this program, schools will be able to let their students install AppleWorks on their home computers. Districts will obtain such a license by paying a fee based on their installed base. An e-mail from Apple to education buyers, obtained by eWEEK, suggested that the move was intended to address a popular request from districts.

AppleWorks, which integrates word processing, spreadsheet, database and presentation software, ships for $79 and is bundled with Apples consumer hardware. Apple also offers a Windows-compatible version to education customers.

A spokesperson for the Cupertino, Calif., Mac maker could not be reached for comment.

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