Apple's latest release of Pages for iPad adds useful editing features, new support for tables and more document-sharing options.
for iPad is turning into a true productivity tool for business users, thanks to
Version 1.2, which Apple released to the iTunes App Store in late September.
Although its functionality as a word processing and page layout application is
still constrained by the limitations of the iPad, if the product's evolution
continues at the current rate, Pages might well cement the iPad's usefulness as
a business tool in another year or so.
that usefulness still has its limitations. For what it does, Pages for iPad is
good, but it has a long way to go before I'd want to use it for anything
substantial, even something like a column. It remains hobbled by the iPad's
interface and by the limited number of features compared with Pages' desktop
For images of Pages for iPad in action, click here.
1.2 adds the ability to display the word count for a document, open a .txt
document from within the iPad's Mail application, and import and export
existing tables of contents, document sections, and footnotes and endnotes.
Another key new feature is the ability to group or ungroup objects in a
document. Users of Mobile Me's iDisk service-and other WebDAV (Web-based
Distributed Authoring and Versioning) services as well-now have the option to
copy documents between Pages and iDisk.
number of improvements to Pages' handling of tables are included in this
release; these address the exporting of tables with customized borders, and add
new text options for cells in tables, including cell-specific settings for
font, size and color. Finally, Pages '09 tables that use images as background
filler for cells can be imported and exported from Pages for iPad; fill images
that cover the entire table do not appear to be supported yet.
enhancement in the area of interoperability can be seen when opening a Pages or
Microsoft Word document. Apple claims it has improved the font matching
routines for this process, although until the iPad offers the range of fonts
available in the desktop version of Pages-to say nothing of Microsoft Word-this
will remain a sore spot for some users. The company says it has also improved
the process of creating and editing hyperlinks.
release includes a number of fixes for bugs that manifest themselves when
importing documents that contain large images, when importing or exporting
documents with overlapping objects, or when importing or exporting Microsoft
Word documents. Other bug fixes address document sharing through the public
beta of the iWork.com Website, hosted by Apple.
these new features and bug fixes don't resolve the challenge that Apple faces
as it attempts to replicate a desktop application's broad range of features in
an iOS app that contains about 20 percent of the code, if file size is any
indication. Users are conditioned to have a mouse, trackpad or similar input
device available, and the touch-based interface of iOS applications means that Pages
for iPad, like the other iWork applications, just isn't suitable for much more
than making simple changes to a document.