Saturday, October 26, 2013

"What have they done to my song (Pages) Ma ?"

As a long time fan and user of Apple Pages as my preferred word processor I was excited and waited with anticipation for the release of an update. In it's present form it did everything I needed efficiently and eloquently. But it was now over four years since a major update and therefore could use a bit of modernisation and added features.
The release of ios7 and then Mavericks caused a whirlwind of updates, refreshes and patches.
My first experience with the "new" Pages was the iPad.
It look different - more in line with ios7 (to be expected). My usual mode of work was to jump between Pages on the iPad and the computer (saving through iCloud). Worked well- no complaints. Start the basics on the iPad - then jump on the computer for fine tuning, formatting or more complex layouts etc.

So - Pages on ios7 ? Cleaner, flatter lines. Yeah - ok. But I must admit  the new look ios7 doesn't really do anything for me - either way. I neither love it or hate it. It more about any added functions rather than eye candy. Gave the new version a run. Seemed to be just about the same as the old - there may be a couple of added functions I am yet to explore. But - basically I could do the same workflow.
The first hic up came with saving a file - telling me I needed to have Mavericks installed to be able to view the file on my computer. Hello - is a way of forcing us to upgrade to Mavericks quick smart ? At this stage I hadn't upgraded to Mavericks - just waiting for the rush to die down. I also thought - this can't be right. Started Pages on the laptop to find out. Sure enough - the same file I was working on the iPad - wouldn't open on the laptop.
Therefore I have to have Mavericks to be able to go to and throw. I don't mind the upgrade - Mavericks sounded like a good upgrade - but what about the difference with Pages. Heaps ! A very different beast indeed. Similar look to the ios7 version. It will only update when you have installed Mavericks.
I won't go into all the differences between Pages 5 and Pages 09 (there are plenty of more detailed posts  about it ) - but a few I find I need regularly have been removed. Inserting file path for example. I use a number of different computers and storage spots - therefore being able to indicate a file path in the document saves me hours of searching for a file. You can still use the 09 version on Mavericks (it is still  on your computer) - but it won't sync with iCloud. Only the new version will.
Instead of Pages becoming a Word Processor that has added functions to compete with the heavy weights (which it already did well - in my opinion) - it has been dumbed down to make it nearly the same as what you can do on your iPhone. Easy - yes ! But apple needs to realise that most people use their iPads and computers in different ways. The ability to cross from one to another (iPad to computer) is handy, generally do something that is not as easy on the other platform. Therefore we don't mind a slightly different (but generally more powerful) version.
I haven't played in any great detail - so I need to check exactly how it will ultimately affect my workflow. I will report back on that one. But my initial reaction is that apple has passed up on an opportunity to make a great program into an even greater one.
Oh - what have they done to my Pages Ma ?

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