New iWork is a joke – but there is hope.

pages 5.0

On the 23rd of October Apple did one of the stupidest things they have ever done.

They killed the iWork suite of applications just when it was starting to gain traction again the default Office suite. They upgraded them to a point that rendered the suite useless.

(Actually this isn’t the first time they have done this. They did a similar thing to their flagship video editing product FinalCut Pro and they are still recovering from it.)

So what have they done that is so bad? Why did they do it? And what is the future for those us that prefer(ed) to use the iWork suite to Office?

What they did.

The interface has been overhauled in line with the iOS7 philosophy of clean lines and reduced clutter. So far, no issue. I don’t mind the clean look but the document handling is now clumsy, the menus severely shortened and  functions removed. No longer can you TAB between cells in the table (a function by the way that has been around in EVERY application that has EVER made use of a table) you now have to use the ARROW key to move between the cells. This is unless of course it is the last cell in the row in which case TAB works just fine!!?? The very fact that you have to consult a manual or google to find out how to do something as simple as move between cells in a document is an automatic failure in my book.

Once upon a time you could do a mail merge…. no longer. Once upon a dream you could set place holder text that allowed you to use your address book to insert names and addresses into a document. And say goodbye to Applescript support and , well the list goes on. And I only have 40 or so years left to live so I don’t really have the time to list them all.

In short, if you’ve used and loved the old Pages ’09 you are going to find this version a joke.

Why did they do this?

The answer to this is easy to understand but does very little for the people who use Pages everyday and rely on it.

Apple’s stated ambition is to align iWork on the Mac and iOS devices and have them work and share information in the same way. In other words, the user experience when using the iOS version should be the same as if you were using the Mac version or the web version. Great, but the net result of this is the whole application needs to be rewritten and, as a consequence, many features have been left out.

What is the future?

Well, as if to confirm the fact that this is a temporary state of affairs, Apple (very uncharacteristically) published a web page outlining the features that would be returning in the coming months. It had DON’T GIVE UP ON IWORK written all over it.

So in short, if you have already downloaded the new Pages on your Mac, don’t despair, the old one is still in your Applications folder so use that one instead. If you were considering upgrading (and I use that word ill-advisedly) I wouldn’t if I were you. If you have upgraded the iOS version thats cool, its not bad at all and is, in my opinion, an actual upgrade to the iOS version.

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