For people with older iOS devices, unless you are able to run iOS 10 you cannot download the now free apps.
Yep, I found that out last night. I went to download Pages on my iPad, and found out I couldn't because I don't have iOS 10 on it. I went to upgrade the OS... and found out my iPad is too old for 10. Sad.
I've got the same problem with my beloved MacBookPro that is now deemed to be obsolete by Apple. I can't upgrade my current copies of iWork because it can't run Sierra. Now if only I could find a way to stop Pages & Numbers from nagging me to upgrade.
You're an optimist but my lengthy experience with Apple tells me that like Aperture these apps are in for a long slow death by neglect. Sadly, I think that this is true for the mac as well.
Apple is only interested in the products with the most revenue and it shows.
I agree about "death from neglect". When apps become free, it means the developer, Apple, is no longer going to improve them. Eventually Apple will stop supporting them. Ultimately the apps will stop working.
But you have to remember that the entire point of making these apps — and the operating systems! — free was to add value to the hardware. Apple has never made significant money on software; the lion's share of the revenue has always come from hardware. As long as the software encourages hardware sales in a real way, it will keep getting attention.
And, in fact, Aperture shows that charging money for an app makes no difference to Apple.
My guess is that Apple will keep these apps going for a long time, but that users shouldn't expect the pace of development or innovation to compete with hungrier independent developers.
Actually your pessimism about the Mac no longer seems justified. For one thing, Apple's laptop line got an "upgrade" recently. And current reports indicate a Mac Pro upgrade can be expected next year, with a return to an "expandable" configuration. In a rare bit of candor Apple admitted that the "trash can" Mac Pro was a mistake. It's cute but turned out to be a technological dead end. There have been hints that the iMac is also in for a refresh, though how fresh that will be remains to be seen. Competition for the iMac from the Microsoft Surface Studio will be heating up in the not-to-distant future. Given that Apple claims not to be interested in a touch screen Mac, it's hard to see how their response to the Surface Studio will be anything but underwhelming. The touch-bar on the MacBook Pro is little more than a toy and would be ergonomically inappropriate on a desktop computer.
Sadly there's no news about the Mac mini. The mini may have the same problem the Mac Pro has: Thermal issues limit the amount of new hardware that can be included in the mini's diminutive box. But then the Mac mini was never intended to be a performance machine. Instead, it's a small office work horse. That is unlikely to change substantially.
That said, I agree with Adam that free iLife and iWork software is not bad news. And they will encourage adoption of Sierra on hardware that can support it. If your hardware is obsolete, well, to coin a phrase, that's not Apple's problem. Indeed, iLife and iWork upgrades have been platform specific for some time now. In any case, older versions of those apps may be better in some ways than the new kids on the block. New versions have tended to lose rather than gain features, a well established Apple hallmark.
Free may seem like a good thing, but nothing is really free. In this case we will be paying for these apps through hardware purchases, if we use an app or not.
Then there is the question of app quality. Since Apple is not making any money off them anymore there is no stimulus to make these apps so good people will be willing to pay for them. The option to vote with our wallet has been taken from us.
One sad example is the latest version of Numbers for iOS. The complaints and 1 star reviews are pouring in but Apple seems to be deaf and blind to them. Now that Numbers is free there is even less reason te expect Apple to do anything about this bad update.
No, they are not "free for everyone", only for those who have also upgraded to macOS X 12 or later.
As Alfonso Scenna observes above, unless one is willing and able to run the very latest OS, there is no invitation to the party.
You're right that these apps have specific system requirements, and we've updated the article to make this completely clear.
However, that doesn't change the fact that the apps are indeed free for everyone. Your ability to run an app is separate from its price.
The upgraded 5.2 version of Pages I tried using was terrible when compared with the older 4.0 versions. It functions too much like the awful Word program for me to use it.
I wouldn't upgrade any of my perfectly functioning iWork programs, free or not, based on the extremely negative experience with Pages alone.
They are free because the latest versions are crap compared to 09 versions. Thankfully I have kept the older versions of Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, GarageBand and iPhoto.
I have the new versions, too, but if I have creative work to do, I use the older versions that were designed with uninterrupted creative workflow in mind.
Anyone know how to get the iLife 11 version of iPhoto? I need it to open an old library
There seem to be old copies available on eBay. You could possibly pick up a used one for a couple of dollars.http://www.ebay.co.uk/bhp/ilife-11
I also might have an old copy which I don't need anymore, but would have to check when I get home. Email me at email@example.com if interested!
But what about people that are unable or unwilling to install the latest versions of MacOS? I cannot find any option to download (or buy) an older version of apps like Keynote, Pages, Numbers, etc. (Nor can I find any info about which version of those apps is compatible with which version of MacOS.)
There is a fair amount of information on Wikipedia about the versions. For instance: about Keynote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keynote_(presentation_software
As much as it would be nice if Apple gave all old stuff away for free, or even kept old versions available for sale, I presume they've done the math and determined that it would be a significant expense that would benefit very few people because those who don't upgrade to new hardware tend not to buy (or even download) new software either.
One of the basic corollaries of sticking with old hardware is that you shouldn't assume it will ever do things beyond what it could do when it stopped being supported. Macs stay functional for a long time, which is great, but they won't gain new capabilities (via new software) after a certain point, and they will start to lose functionality (through lack of compatibility with current software) after that.