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Apple neglecting productivity?

iPod TouchApple seems to be fully committed to intensive development of its iTunes-related software features to the detriment of other features. If you own a Mac or iPod/ iPhone for listening to music and watching videos, you’ll be happy. But if you also want to get on with managing your life, work and information, you’re likely to find the bundled Apple software a bit disappointing.

On the Mac, the standard Apple Mail software bundled with OS 10.6 seems to have changed little… it still has the same irritating bugs and limited features it had in 10.4. And iCal still has many limitations – it’s really quite a basic application. These Mac OS desktop applications feel like add-ons and don’t appear to have had much in the way of development effort for several years now.

And if you own an iPod Touch or iPhone with the latest OS, you can’t even sync your tasks with iCal. To be able to do this effectively, you’ll have to buy an app such as Appigo’s ToDo – luckily like most apps it’s pretty cheap. It provides much better features for managing your ToDo list than iCal does. But since it’s not allowed to talk to iCal directly when syncing, it has to sync separately. It does this over wireless with its own desktop application running on your Mac, which itself syncs with iCal. Not a big problem, but it’s all a bit clumsy.

If the much-heralded Apple tablet does appear next week as the rumours suggest, it’s likely to be attractive to users who want it for work as well as play. But unless the software bundled with it is much improved on what’s available now, they’re likely to find its usefulness is limited.