Some users angry over Apple’s free iWork suite

“Apple users are allegedly upset because iWork is now free, some complain of missing features,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld. “They needn’t worry.”

“Apple’s initial focus (other than a complete rewrite of the applications) has been to deliver the features 80 percent of most actual users actually make use of.,” Evans writes. “Apple won’t discuss future products, but it seems to me that to understand Apple’s future plans here it’s probably instructional to look to the evolution of Final Cut Pro X (a new edition of which will ship alongside the new Mac Pro in December). That evolution saw steady, rapid introduction of new features to answer real world user need. The implication is that this is how things will evolve for iWork and iLife.”

“This is a starting point for a much larger future vision of cross device computing,” Evans writes. “The user interface is critical. A user of iWork on an iPhone will be able to use a Mac without figuring out how. Apple seems proud to have reduced the number of controls on iMovie from around 26 to around 11, while still retaining the most used features that made the software useful in the first place. These features will be expanded — however, unlike Microsoft’s Office user interface, Apple wants to ensure users on any of its platforms don’t need to take night classes to find the tools they need within its free solutions.”

Read more in the full article here.

91 Comments

    1. What instructions? Apple other than help is notorious for not providing manuals for their products.
      That said anyone know how to get the keyboard to show up in Numbers for iPad (consistently), this is driving me crazy.

      1. Wow. I hadn’t bothered to play with Numbers on the iPad yet (I seriously find Numbers useless, so unfortunately have been using Excel on my Macs), but you’re right! I opened a sheet (and tried creating a new one) and I cannot get the on-screen keyboard to come up no matter what I do – I can’t enter anything into a cell unless I paste something!

        Pages and Keynote work fine. Oops! This is a pretty major bug, I’d say…

          1. After restarting my iPad, that works. Thanks!

            Was it always this way? As I said, I don’t hardly ever use Numbers (on iOS or Mac) but I don’t remember having to double tap on the cells.

            Simple enough though for those who use it.

    2. My opinion of your comment is that you’re more than likely one of the ‘casual users’ that apple is targeting. A lot of the serious users like myself have adopted the platform for our businesses.

      The instructions you are referring to are online and I’ve been reading the damn instructions all day long. You know what I’ve found? That the new Pages and Numbers are not compatible with the files I’ve made in the previous versions. I run a small business of of these two products and the amount of time I’m going to have to spend updating all of my documents- which I use daily will be a huge time sync. I use over 25 different documents a day. I’d bet you weren’t even bothered to open one today.

  1. Honestly, why is this even posted on Macdaily?

    It seems lately like the stories are just a random posting of mismashed articles, mostly stating contradictory or unjustified premises.

    How can we get a shift back to the high standards that drew me to this site for the last five years?

  2. Some users? Very nice idea. Hundreds and hundreds are shocked, see AppStore reviews. Only the usual Northern Korean folks will say, that Apple did fine this time. The others will see that this is the worst update Apple ever made.

      1. German AppStore. So far 233 one-star-votes for Pages 5.0 with very detailed negative review. Way over 2/3 of the votes and reviews are one star, so very very negative. It is not that 80% would be positive, but closed to the opposite.

      2. Though not hundreds where I am, the Canadian appstore has 108 1-star reviews for the latest version of Pages, outnumbering all other ratings combined (100), i.e. over half the reviews are 1-star.

        For comparison, previous versions only had 35 1-stars, and 207 5 stars.

        Reviews are fine with Keynote (27 5-stars vs 10 1-stars), but Numbers has similar ratio to Pages (more than half are 1-stars). Numbers also has a very low review count, suggesting far fewer users on Numbers than Pages and Keynote.

        1. The lopsided rating is almost always misleading. In situations such as this one (radically new version), those who are unhappy with the change are significantly more likely to make their opinion known than those that are fine with it (the “silent majority” principle). Therefore, the fact that the single-star negative reviews outnumber the positive ones doesn’t really tell us much, other than that the update was a radical change. We simply can’t know, based on those reviews alone, if it was for better or for worse, due to the above-mentioned problem.

          If someone were to actually do a proper poll of a representative sample of iWork users, then we’d have a better picture. Surveys with self-selecting sample are pretty much useless for all intents and purposes.

          1. … so many one-star ratings for Pages and Numbers. I had downloaded them and had not noticed major problems. So I checked some out. Many were upset that “Recently Opened” was not the default! It’s right there in the drop-down menus, but you give a 1-* because it’s no longer the default? Claim it’s “broken”? How many trolls have been active?

          2. This seems to be the same as final cut x. Some features were lost. Yes, many users did not use those features, but many did. Of course the ones who didn’t use those lost features are happy with the new version! But when advanced features are lost forcing people to revert or switch to word, there is going to be a justified outcry.

            1. The argument here isn’t that the people who are complaining are wrong to complain, nor is it that the features that were lost were useless. The point is:

              1. The number of users who are missing the lost features and are now angry because of that (and must therefore find other solutions to their workflow) is rather small (possibly minuscule, negligible)

              2. The volume of their discontent (on various message boards) is grossly disproportionate to their actual share in the overall user base.

              iWork’s place in today’s computing industry is roughly the same as Apple Works (or MS Works) used to have fifteen years ago: this is a software package with a feature set that satisfies 90% of word processing needs.

              There are plenty of people who have MS Office on their PCs, and only use it to print signs such as “Keep this door closed!” (in Times New Roman, mind you…).

              All I’m saying is, there aren’t that many people who use Pages to lay out complex publications or documents; most people are served more than well with the limited set of tools it already has. Same for Numbers and Keynote. This will likely end up being the same hassle as with FCP X.

            2. I explained already what I was arguing.

              Self-selected surveys are meaningless, as they always grossly over-report complaints. This is a known fact, and it is fairly easy to understand why. If we look at the similar situations of before, we will notice how the actual number of those who are dissatisfied is always extremely low. This tends to be very much inline when it comes to Apple — very few Apple customers tend to be dissatisfied, but those who are make sure their voice is heard.

            3. The users who are most disrupted by Apple’s sudden change are likely to purchase several Macs at a time, such as for an office. Something like a word processor is a long-term investment. Professionals aren’t going to trust their software if it is here today and gone tomorrow.

              Then they end up with customers who want to make short documents about butterflies (see the web site) on iMacs that have the same functionality as iPads.

              This was a very bad move by Apple. They p*ssed customers, and made it clear that they don’t care that they disrupted other people’s business.

            4. Yup. I am NOT a power user. Somewhere in “medium” range. And Pages 5 is completely unusable for me. Text flow between text boxes GONE. Come on, Apple! This is, perhaps, one of the most fundamental page layout functions, ever since PageMaker 1.

              Trying to say, “It’s okay. Features will come back, like Final Cut” doesn’t justify the current crippling. Maybe they will. But how many? How long to wait? And the comparison with Final Cut — well, not all is rosy over there. Recent post by someone elsewhere…

              “The other popular narrative is that Apple has added the missing features back into FCP X. Also not true. I use FCP X every day, and I used Final Cut since 2001. Apple has gadded in SOME features, but I’d say 85% of the “pro” features that made it useable in a broadcast or film-editing environment are definitely missing, with no plan for return. Can’t use it for TV, can’t use it for film, so what “pro” environment are they ready for?

              Like I said, I use FCP X, and the answer is my market: corporate and web videos, but even then I’m severely hamstrung by missing features all the time. Anxious to see what it will do in .1, but most of my industry still uses FCP7, or went over to Avid and Premiere 3 years ago and never looked back.”

            5. Fair enough. Though the lopsided reviews help a user thinking about upgrading assess whether it is a good idea or not. If the reviews were accurately representative of the while user base that tool would be gone.

              Just a thought.

              Also, when they release the next point version, it usually starts a new tally.

  3. Seems to me, everyone who has commented on this so far has never used Pages or any of the other apps in iWork…….

    There is a huge difference between iWork ’09 and iWork 5.0. So many features have been removed that the usability has been severely affected.

  4. It’s hardly whining when features that you use regularly no longer work. For example, the media browser in Pages (and perhaps elsewhere) no longer provides access to Aperture which is where all my images reside. After a lot of experimentation I did find a workaround but it’s a pain and shouldn’t be necessary.

    1. They have definitely dumbed it down, and some of the features removed are definitely not things I would consider “power user” features.

      Here’s hoping they do begin to add features back as we go like they have done with Final Cut Pro X.

    2. The Apple fanbois never could use the “advanced” features and support every Apple decision no matter how bizarre or infuriating waste no time demonstrating what complete idiots they are. Instead of Apple challenging MS’s Office dominance by making iWork more functional and useable Apple had made iWork a crippled app. I would rather pay for an app that works that install a free piece of shit.

      1. … “challenge MS’s Office”, they would have brought forth a quite different package. Well over 90% of all Word or Excel users do not use more than a quarter of either packages features. The rest is bloat. Apple targeted that 90%, not the few who demand even more.
        You have three choices: a) decline to upgrade, b) switch to the Office product(s) of your preference, or c) upgrade and whine (or troll?). Given that the new Pages and Numbers both “work”, what else can I say? Some features are changed, BFD. Get over it or punish Apple by not buying their (working) product. Put your suggestions in the Suggestion Box like an adult. Pretend.

        1. Suppose I was switching my office over to Pages. I did five of the computers long ago, I have five more to go, but Pages 4.3 is suddenly gone. I also have more Macs on order, but now they won’t come with Pages 4.3. All of a sudden, without warning, Apple made hash of my business. I not only have to find a replacement word processor in a hurry, I have to convert four years worth of files. Otherwise I have a mishmash of documents in different formats.

          Now I have to use the suggestion box to submit a supplication for a feature that they deliberately deleted, but already exists on a version of the software they have arbitrarily chosen not to sell?

          And I’m supposed to trust them not to pull this trick again?

    3. Features that you use in the Keynite 5 app you bought DO still work AND you can continue to use that and delete Keynote 6.

      Just did some collaboration this weekend in Keynite on the web, though, and THAT was slick. I like the direction they’re headed.

  5. This reaction sounds very familiar to another reaction we’ve seen a few times.
    ‘Apple removes floppy drives from it’s computers.’
    ‘What? No CD drive??.’
    ‘Hey where’s my dial up modem?’
    ‘And my serial port for that matter!?’

    This is the software version of those actions as we move to the cloud. The features that are actually used will be added back in, but likely in a different implementation with easier to use functionality.

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