Apple’s new Pages 5: Why less might actually be more

“Given Microsoft Office’s subscription model with a yearly fee of just under $100 and Page’s new capabilities, Microsoft could have a fight on its hands,” David Sobotta writes for ReadWrite.

“The new Pages is very different from the old version. There were some advanced desktop publishing features that worked very well in the 2009 version of Pages,” Sobotta writes. “While the new Pages 5 will not do everything the old Pages 2009 would do, it is far easier to pick the product up and use it casually. With Pages 5, Apple seems to have hit a sweet spot of ease of use, while still covering basic capabilities for a large number of users. Unfortunately, some missing features might alienate the most faithful and serious Pages users.”

“People with complex business needs might be disappointed with the new Pages. However, those of us who want a simple word processor with a basic set of very powerful tools could end up being Pages fans. Having the ability to access the documents on multiple platforms through a browser is a real win,” Sobotta writes. “I am often a hard-to-please Apple critic, but I like Pages 5. I think most people will. Unfortunately to get Pages to work across as many devices as it does, Apple had to give up some features [initially – MDN Ed.]. I think it was a positive trade off.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
LAPTOP Magazine reviews Apple’s iWork for OS X: A compelling content creation platform – November 20, 2013
Hands on: Using Apple’s new iWork for iCloud collaboration tools – November 15, 2013
Apple updates iWork for iCloud beta with collaboration, printing, and folders – November 14, 2013
Apple: Forthcoming iWork releases will reintroduce features, add new ones – November 6, 2013
Apple’s iWork ’13: Dumbed down or smart move? – November 6, 2013
Some users angry over Apple’s free iWork suite – October 29, 2013
Apple’s Pages 5.0 an unmitigated disaster? – October 24, 2013
Apple releases next-gen 64-bit iWork and iLife apps for OS X and iOS; free with new Macs and iOS devices – October 22, 2013


        1. Where did you go to school, what did you not learn there? We live in a Republic not a democracy.

          Also folks, remember iWork ’09 remains on our system for us to use. If you do not like iWork 5 programs then continue to use the more powerful iWork ’09. Then when the new iWork gets on par with iWork ’09 make the switch. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy.

    1. Can you imagine the uproar if Adobe or Micros**t pulled this crap??
      You lot would be on them like a ton of bricks.
      THIS it’s why Apple will always struggle with business users. They can’t be trusted not to rip out key features that people rely on, and they do it without apology without explanation and without warning.
      I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Aperture 4 removes RAW support.

      1. Ya, I’ve got to admit, as much as I love all things Apple, the one thing that’s starting to get to me is feature pulling. I think it started with QuickTime Player X. I remember everyone saying “hey, it’s 1.0, they’ll add all the Pro features soon enough”, but here we are years later and we’re still clinging on to QuickTime Player 7 Pro. The latest iMove despite using the QuickTime architecture removed the export interface allowing many export options… The sad part is that the options are in the engine itself, you just can’t access them now. Somehow it’s “easier” to just push the YouTube logo despite needing to do something else.

        It’s troubling because it creates a fear of “you might not be able to do this in the future” with a lot of Apple software.

      2. Microsoft and Adobe don’t do anything like this precisely because they are too afraid to deal with the backlash. That’s why their platforms stagnate and suffer under the weight of all their legacy crap.

    2. I think they done that to match though. They have already said they will be adding more features over time. They rebuilt it from the ground up, same as they did with Quicktime X and Final Cut X.

  1. But it’s not a crippled app. Upgraders don’t lose any functionality, because the old 2009 version of the app remains, and you get to keep both versions. New users however will no longer be confused when they create something on the mac and it looks / behaves different on the iPad. Given that I had to train adult colleagues for half a day to start using DTP features on the old version, yet my daughter can make a pro-looking newsletter on the new version. I think Sobotta has it right.

      1. I disagree. When I want to complex page layout with flowing text. I’d prefer to use Pages2009 over even InDesign. But that’s something that’s going to print and not going through versions on an iPad.

        Most tasks are simpler however, and the new Pages is fine. Very rarely do I need to open one file format in the other version of Pages.

    1. This is a straw man argument.

      Yes, Apple did leave apps intact.
      No, Apple did not warn their users that the new apps would break old docs.

      If Apple would have handled this correctly, they would have published their “missing features document BEFORE the upgrade was available and not sheepishly after. Many workflows were broken because of this arrogance. If Apple wants to have their users feel comfortable using these tools, they should have listed the caveats beforehand. This is a reason why IT folks are suspicious of Apple. Enterprise computing is like turning an ocean liner around.

      Just shitty operations

      1. Yessiree Bob, looks like FCPX arrogant redux.

        They have got to know they are going to get bad reviews. Best to launch a preemptive strike and get instructions out there to ALL users to negate unfavorable surprises.

        That said, with all their vast cash, tech resources and future mother ship landing why not offer a version for the masses and a paid pro version to compete directly with Microsoft.

        And while at it consider the same tact taking on Adobe, Avid Pro Video … et al.

        If not a second version, possibly some other form (paid pro plug-in) to deliver advanced features that just work.

      2. I do accept that but then most people in critical work flows don’t just upgrade things instantly assuming the best. I certainly never would and always check and wait for feedback before committing if I have any doubts, working with Adobe ensures that cynicism.

    2. Point taken. Its certainly not Pages 09. I think of it in similar way as maybe Filemaker12 and Filmaker Go for iPad/iPhone. The latter is free, but not a development app.

    3. As someone who has used almost every word processor and page layout program on the Mac since MacWord 1.0, I cannot imagine how I would create a “professional-looking newsletter” without the ability to flow text through linked boxes. If your daughter can do it, you must be very proud. Clearly, your idea of what constitutes DTP software dramatically differs from mine. The new Pages is a really easy-to-use word processor, and it will clearly become more powerful over time, but there is no indication whatever that Apple plans to restore any of the features that made Pages 4.3 a powerful DTP program as well.

      1. I can help you there. My daughter managed to make it professional LOOKING, by writing the text to fit the boxes. 🙂

        I’m not saying it’s anything like a DTP programme. But as I said earlier, we’stil got 09 for that. What I’m saying is my daughter wants to make a newsletter for her school project without getting her head around re flowing text (like many other users). And mostly she wants to do it on an iPad.

    1. You do realize why Apple did what they did, don’t you? As the author stated, Apple wanted its iWork Suite to function the same across all platforms, I.E., iDevices and Mac computers. It also had to rewrite the code from scratch to be compatible on the new 64 bit processors Apple switched to with the new iPhone and iPad. Unlike MS Word, if you create a document in Pages, it will retain its integrity across devices. Line breaks and text flow will be retained regardless if it was created through the web browser version, iPad, or computer version. Apple is temporarily sacrificing some features and capabilities while it implements their strategy.

      This will greatly benefit users in the long run. Knowing that you never have to worry about things changing from switching over to a different device is a big plus. I can’t remember how many times I’ve had to correct formatting on a Word document because things changed when I brought it into my system. Many hours have been wasted because of this common behavior of MS Office applications. If time is money, than iWork has the potential to save companies a lot of money.

      Apple has already stated that they will be bringing back functionality that was lost with the latest version over time through updates. Over time, I see iWork maturing into a very robust full featured set of programs.

      Besides, the vast majority of users just need and use the basic features of these suites anyway. I know very few people doing anything beyond basic word processing in Word or Pages. I would say Pages and Numbers has everything a person needs and uses for at least 95% of users. Keynote is light years ahead of PowerPoint. It will be interesting to see what iWork will look like a year or two from now. My guess is it will be one awesome capable set of programs without all the crap Office users have to cope with. You also can’t beat the price. iWork has the potential to save companies a lot of money. With Microsoft, you just pay and pay.

      1. At last someone who gets it. Office is a nightmare to use between versions to the point that PowerPoint is almost unusable on a Mac when it is then viewed on a PC. But even between PC versions it and Word need constant fiddling to keep it all consistent. Who need more capability when most of the time most people don’t and in fact can’t use it effectively. The whole process of increasingly unusable software seems to be unthinkingly supported by some of the idiots above while still whinging about it when they have to use its spaghetti coding. Sometimes you have to go back a step to move forward many more I applaud Apple for doing it, but just be clear about it to silence the whingers.

  2. I simply don’t understand why Pages isn’t designed with two templates: simple or full featured. Many upscale cars have user selectable suspension settings, why can’t we have user selectable word processor packages? This is not a difficult problem.

    1. First, I’m not sure why you’re using the word ‘templates’ here.
      The problem with your ‘no compromise’ solution is that any files produced with your ‘Full Featured’ app wouldn’t work/show up with any of the mobile/web versions of iWork.

      The point is 100% compatibility across all three platforms. As all three iWorks get better, those features will come back. Apple made the right call.

    1. Who says it is supposed to compete with Office? I didn’t hear Apple say a word about Office when they introduced the new iWork. I only heard them talk about how iWork excels at everything it does. Maybe everyone else is talking about how it competes with Office, but I don’t think Apple is. It definitely was never the intention to make iWork have all the features of Office and thankfully it also doesn’t have Office’s user interface.

  3. I’m a critical fan of most things Apple, & I’ve been hoping since iCloud was introduced that They would make Pages work properly across all platforms. Pages 5 accomplishes precisly this; I cannot speak about the other iWork apps. More than that I have found Pages 5 a delight to use, in no small part due to the streamlining process that Apple did in making it 64 bit & functioning on all platforms. I say this having worked on a large complex document for a few weeks as well as smaller ones. There have been a few kinks, which I assume Apple will soon fix in updates. Most irritating, while double-clicking on a footnote number will bring you to the footnote, double-clicking on the footnote number in the footnote itself will not spring back into the main text as would happen in Pages ’09 or MS Word. Otherwise, I like this update better than almost anything else Apple has done in recent years.

  4. This article is drivel.

    A vertical ruler
    Text flowing from one text box to the next
    Putting a company logo in the header
    Putting images in tables

    are NOT
    “complex business needs”
    or only for
    “the most faithful and serious Pages users.”

  5. Pages 5 is not the successor to Pages 4. It is a completely new application with a completely different and severely reduced feature set, and a completely different and incompatible file format. Pages 5 is for a completely different kind of user and a completely different set of use cases. There is no reason for discontinuing Pages 4, because it poses no competitive threat to Pages 5. Calling Pages 5 “Pages” and calling its first version “5” is misleading.

    Meanwhile, Pages 5 is free, and worth every penny.

    1. “Calling Pages 5 “Pages” and calling its first version “5″ is misleading.”

      No kidding. Well said.

      And I (maybe a few others?) would like an upgrade to Apple’s business-level word processor after all these years. And we’d also like the iCloud capabilities to have NOT been axed.

      Having the more professional word processor have no cloud capabilities and having the “Aunt Doris” baby word processor with this capability is plain silly.

  6. I understand the whole cross platform idea, I get it! But when I keep getting font support issues, I get really frustrated and have a hard time believing how successful Apple really is in this endeavor!

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