Ars Technica reviews iWork for iPad: A nice place to visit, but you might not want to live there

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“The validity of the iPad as a casual device—something you can use to check your e-mail, surf the Internet on the couch, or watch a movie in bed—has never really been in question,” Jeff Smykil reports for Ars Technica. “The real question is, ‘Can I convince my boss to buy me one?’ Unless your boss is Michael Scott, chances are he’s going to want to know if you can actually be productive with it.”

Smykil reports, “The whole ‘file sharing’ process is obviously just another step towards iTunes replacing the Finder. Why can’t I do this over Bluetooth or WiFi? Why doesn’t the iPad just mount on the desktop like a drive? In Apple’s attempt to make this as simple as possible for everyone, they have made it excruciating for those who know what they are doing, and inexplicably difficult for those who have no clue.”

“In the end, using iWork for the iPad is a lot like going to the moon. It might be a nice place to visit, and it may even be fun to bounce around for a bit, play a little golf, or buzz around in that sweet little moon buggy, but in the end, it’s not a place I’d like to live, or even stay for any extended amount of time,” Smykil reports. “iWork is decent, but there is only so much you can do for an office suite without a full keyboard and a mouse.”

MacDailyNews Take: More accurately, there’s only so much that Jeff Smykil can imagine can be done for an office suite without a full keyboard and a mouse. Apple just shifted the paradigm; give ’em some time, Jeff. History suggests Apple will make things happen that most people haven’t even imagined yet.

Smykil reports, “iWork for the iPad won’t replace most people’s desktop office suite. It may be OK for your grandmother, but without a way to print, even that is doubtful. But if you need to make a quick change or two in a cab, in coach, or in a cramped telephone booth, iWork is definitely serviceable.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We believe that people’s evaluations of iWork are strongly based on how successfully they can let go of old ideas and, instead, Think Different™.


  1. I use iWork in my iPad more and more everyday, which means I am using the version on my iMac less and less every day. I can see myself using ONLY the iPad version within weeks. Not months, not years … WEEKS!

  2. What was this guy expecting? A full-blown office suite? For what Apple did with this on the iPad, it’s quite the feat. It’s a lot better than I would have imagined and has plenty of great functionality. I bet version 2.0 will not be too far behind.

  3. “For what Apple did with this on the iPad, it’s quite the feat.” I agree, and what’s not mentioned (in the excerpt, anyway) is the $10-per-app price point. What’s Office go for, a minimum of $400 unless you’re a student? For eight percent of the price of Office, you get a heck of a lot more than eight percent of the functionality, without even talking about usability, stability and design aesthetic.

  4. I’ve got an HP app that can print photos to my printer from iPhoto. I’m sure that, sooner than later, we’ll be able to print from iWork on iPad.

    That’s one of the cool things about Apple products – they get better with time.

  5. I agree that having an easy way to print is very important to me and the number one reason I have put off buying one. I go back and forth to Florida frequently. As it stands now I would need to take my IPad and my IBook in order to print. There is something seriously wrong with that. Rather than get an IPad I will simply upgrade to a MacBook.

  6. I’m with you MDN… “give em time”. However, until then, it is painful to use as a productivity tool. I have over 50 clients for whom I keep detailed files (pages, numbers, keynote). I sync this central depository of information with my iMac and MBP via iDisk since I’m constantly traveling. But, of course, I can currently do very little with all this data until Apple links iDisk and the iPad iWork suite. Of course, I can email myself the document… or sync it via iTunes (if I’m ever at home)… but these aren’t workable solutions for anyone wanting to be productive. I have very little doubt that Apple will eventually get there… I’m just trying to be patient in the meantime.

  7. I’ve used iWork, esp Keynote, for the iPad and I agree with Smykil. Keynote is very crippled. Limited fonts, some animations not supported, and groups ungrouped when transferred from a Mac. Anything but the simplest Keynote presentation built on a Mac will be a mess when imported into the iPad — verging on useless. This is very unfortunate. Presumably future versions will be better, but ver 1.0 is very incomplete and feels like it was rushed to market. It is not really useful for touching up a Keynote presentation or preparing a top quality presentation from scratch. The lack of printing ability and the complex method for importing and exporting documents add to the problems. I have not used Pages but I understand that’s also compromised. Numbers is OK but I use it mainly as a database program.

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