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Patient and knowledgeable, owner and Mac expert Ark Lemal brings over 30 years experience to your business or home. He'll help you understand and get the most from cloud services, think through your best backup strategies, help you work smarter with your Mac, iPad & iPhone.

iWork Dumbed down?

To quote Mr. Bill, "Oh Noooooo!"

Having thus dated myself, let me explain.

I was really looking forward to the new Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps. I love these apps and when Apple pays attention to them, they get better. At least until now. Having built versions for iOS, and then much to everyone's surprise and delight, a free web-based version that is actually useable—and blows google docs out of the water—I was really psyched for having the ability to pass a file between all the versions without loss or modification.

I didn't count on how Apple would achieve this useful innovation.

While I understand that it would take a lot of work to bring both an iOS app and a web app up to speed with these excellent OSX apps, Apple instead chose to dumb down the OSX version to reach parity with the other lesser apps. Ugh. Worse yet, opening your file in one of these new versions changes the file format so it is no longer compatible with the older, more complete version of the app.

I'm afraid of the stain this will cause as Apple puts these apps forward to where everyone in the world has free access to them, only to discover basic features are missing. The last version of Pages has completely replaced Microsoft Word on my Mac. Numbers was almost there as a full replacement of Excel, with many thing way better than Excel, and a few things not quite yet. Keynote has long been head and shoulders above Powerpoint.

Now we are going backward to a less useful, over simplified app probably more in keeping with the public's (often incorrect) view of Apple as not ready for real business applications. And just when I though we were there. 

All pessimism aside, we can look at this as starting up from the bottom to build the best new office apps in an open shared environment that works on all our devices and with anyone in the world whether or not they have the app, and be pretty sure that Apple is putting those features back in as fast as they can. We know something about where they are headed by where they've been. I just hope the inherent limitations of the web or iOS don't hold the whole app back from being as good as it can be.

For a depressing list of changes to Pages 5, see this discussion on Apple's site.

Amongst the comments here are some of the missing features in Numbers. 

 

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