Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Second iWork ’13 Update

Dan Miller:

Apple updated its iWork suite on all three platforms (iOS, Mac, and iCloud) yesterday, with improvements to almost every aspect of every app, from editing in Pages to creating charts in Numbers and delivering presentations in Keynote.


There’s plenty more, all of it detailed on the product pages for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. And, if you’re counting, the new Mac versions are Pages 6.2, Numbers 3.2, Keynote 6.2; on iOS, it’s version 2.2 of all three.

Ben Waldie:

I’m pleased to say that this week, Apple has delivered again. This time, the iWork apps have received a notable set of AppleScript improvements across the board.


However, the most exciting news is that Keynote, Numbers, and Pages all introduce brand new text and iWork suites of terminology, allowing for interaction with text and common elements such as charts, images, tables, lines, placed audio files, and more.

What’s especially interesting is that these suites are consistent from app to app. In other words, since all the apps have certain features in common, the same exact AppleScript terminology is used to script those features.

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I am pleasantly surprised that Pages also had a new Applescript dictionary. It's still missing important functionality (selection, insertion point, paragraph style), and font styling is limited to just getting/setting a font based on its text description, but the consistency and clean start is nice.

I must admit I was alarmed when Pages 5 first came out, seeing how much functionality had been jettisoned from Pages '09. Since Apple had not been updating Pages much in six years, I (wrongly) assumed Pages 5 would now languish as well as a shadow of what the software had been.

After using Pages 5 on my desktop, laptop, iPhone, and in a browser on iCloud--and after sharing files successfully via iCloud for co-authoring--I'm starting to get it. You can easily edit a file on any platform, and all formatting is retained intact. You can leave a file open on your computer at work and proofread it on your phone on the bus ride home, tweak it in a browser or laptop in the evening, and return to your work machine with it ready to go in the morning. I did not fully appreciate the importance or benefit of the cross-platform thing at first. Now I see.

Compatibility with DOC(X) is also quite good. Not perfect, but quite good (and ironically better than with Office Mobile on my iPhone).

But the new interface is also praiseworthy. It's simple, but with each update offers more and more of the complex-formatting and layout functionality most people need. It's a breath of fresh air using Pages after using Word 2013 on a PC or Word 2011 on a Mac.

So count me among the converts to Pages 5, and I hope that the regular updates keep up.

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