In the course of the past two weeks, I have read three separate writings that hail Apple Keynote as the antidote to Death by PowerPoint and a savior to the presentation community.
Let me begin by saying that I have absolutely nothing against Keynote. I like many of its creative transitions and its direct export to video is vastly superior to PowerPoint's deficient offerings. But a magic bullet for everything that people do wrong during a presentation? Again…please.
PowerPoint's bad reputation is owing to the fact that roughly 3.5 bazillion people use it, and of those 3.5 bazillion, 98% of them are undertrained. If all 3.5 bazillion people switched overnight to Keynote, would they all become better presenters? Of course not! The ony inevitable result of this fiction would be the sullying of Keynote's reputation.
If you are a clueless presentation content creator — if you like to stuff untold text blather onto your slides, compose complete sentences, and make things spin stupidly onto the slide – there is no magic potion within Keynote that will compel you to stop. I'm sorry, but Keynote's cleaner default slide is not enough to stem this tide. Apple Keynote will not infuse in you a decade of experience, a modicum of good sense, or a schtickle of restraint. It just doesn't work that way.
Apple Keynote is thought of more highly because, by and large, the people using it have higher graphical skills and deeper design sense. That is a gross generalization, I know, but as a cultural axiom, there is little denying that the background of the loyal and zealous Mac user is more creative than that of the corporate-based Windows user. As an author and conference host for Corel products, I have been a witness to this for the past 15 years, and I see little on the presentation side to contradict it.
The people creating more attractive slides in Keynote have an advantage over the typical PowerPoint user because they stand a better chance of being able to get out from under their slides and present more emotionally and powerfully to their audience. With cleaner visuals, they have more access to their audience's emotional senses. But this is because of the violinist, not the violin. That same person, if sat down behind PowerPoint, would likely follow his or her instincts and create slides that are less "PowerPointish" than the norm.
PowerPoint use outnumbers Keynote use by factors that have many zeroes behind it. Going on sheer numbers, I'll bet you that the number of PowerPoint slides that are beautiful, impactful, and artful (however you might choose to define those terms) outnumber those of Keynote.
These types of statistics are meaningless. Talented presentation designers will do good work with whatever tool they adopt. Inexperienced content creators will struggle with whatever tool they are given.
I have more to say about this, but let's first hear what you have to say…