Mark Gurman On iWork Potentially Going Free


Besides the factor of elegance and the want for an integrated experience leading to the possibility of free iWorks apps on iOS and OS X, we have uncorroborated whispers, in recent months, claiming that Apple has been discussing ways to make its iWork for iOS and Mac apps free at some point in the next year. It is unclear if the internal talks will amount to anything to affect customers. The thinking, just like with iCloud and iTunes Radio, is that free iWork apps could be a way to sell more hardware. We have also heard that, over the next couple of months, Apple will engage in its strongest push yet to sell (high-profit-margin) iPhones in its retail stores, so perhaps free iWork apps is part of the same general strategy.

I think there is a perception amongst users that Apple is going to follow the trend of previous years and price Mavericks cheaper than Mountain Lion. In effect, the expectation is that Mavericks is going to be $10 (as 10.8 was $10 cheaper than 10.7). However, by bundling iWork as part of 10.9, Apple can justify keeping prices the same this year if they wish.

That’s the Mac story. On iOS, free iWork is a much bigger deal. Even though it is completely irrational, I have seen a lot of people complain that, after purchasing a $500 iPad, they have to purchase a $10 word processor. ‘Including’ Pages with the iPad is a big draw for consumers — it removes a psychological barrier.