Apple has released updates to the components of the iWork suite via Software Update and as standalone downloads, bumping Keynote to version 4.0.2 (32 MB download), Pages to 3.0.2 (27.8 MB download), and Numbers to 1.0.2 (26.2 MB download). Separately, iWeb was revved to 2.0.3 (17.2 MB download). The release notes for these updates set a new low even for Apple, noting for Pages, Numbers, and iWeb that “This update addresses compatibility with Mac OS X” and expounding only more slightly for Keynote that “This update primarily addresses performance issues while playing or exporting presentations.”
I’m becoming increasingly fed up with Apple’s reluctance to admit that they might have fixed a bug when releasing an update to one of their programs. I can see an argument that average users may not care what specifically changed, but release notes that say merely “This update addresses compatibility with Mac OS X” are just patronizing. Some people actually use these programs for real work and care deeply about changes. Describing what’s new in a program gives the interested user the necessary information to determine if an update is likely to solve a particular problem. And since some updates actually cause new problems to crop up, release notes that could be summarized with a grunt and “Update good” verge on the negligent.
Come on, Apple, acknowledge that you have professional users whose livelihoods depend on your programs and the information you publish about them. I’m not saying you have to overwhelm Software Update users with detail that most people couldn’t possibly understand, but somewhere on your Web site, how about providing real release notes that actually document what has changed? It’s all about trust – you want us to trust your updates without question, but if you can’t trust us to make our own informed decisions, why should we trust your software to work in mission-critical situations? If you need a role model, check out the release notes from Bare Bones Software, which lay out clearly exactly what has been added, changed, and fixed.