Apple’s next edition of iWork may set a landmark as being among the first major Apple software releases to ship first online, as it seems books explaining how to use the productivity suite have been delayed for release in January 2011 — around the time Apple opens its Mac App Store.

AppleBitch reports an iWork ’11 book which had been due for publication in December this year has now been delayed until February 2011.

This gives rise to the following stabs at speculation:

  • Apple intends opening its Mac App Store in January
  • Apple will make iWork available via this store, as hinted during tis recent special event where the company discussed its store.
  • It is possible iWork will be made available online before brick-&-mortar retail sales begin, in an attempt to get Mac users using the new online software store.