Yesterday, Apple released an update for iWork on iOS that added, among changes to Numbers and Keynote, support for change tracking in Pages. I’m not a frequent user of this particular feature, but it could have come in handy when we edited my Mountain Lion review earlier this year. However, last night I noted how the way Apple implemented Change Tracking on iOS felt outdated and convoluted.
Track changes support has long been the Holy Grail for many litigators using an iPad or iPhone. For the most part, I really like the way that Apple implemented this feature in the latest version of Pages. I wish that the update included a better way to review each edit, but for the most part I suspect that I’ll just scroll through a document and look at the redline edits in the context of the document as a whole so this omission is not critical for me. The lack of support for Comments will sometimes be a problem (depending upon how often you work with people who use that feature), but as long as you know about it and have an app like Documents to Go, Office2 or Quickoffice Pro, you can work around the Comments omission when it becomes an issue.
I can see how lack of Comments and Review mode can be an issue for some users. Mostly though, I believe that the interaction of Change Tracking needs to be redesigned entirely. On Pages for Mac, you can simply click on a change to review it and accept it from a sidebar on the left; in fact, if you click on the blue boxes in the sidebar you can see the blue line connecting the change to the actual text being highlighted in real time. It’s a subtle visual hint, but it’s there.
I’m not sure why Apple decided to go with this simpler interface rather than cooking up a completely new one, but I have a couple of theories. My first thought is that text rendering and manipulation on iOS still doesn’t allow for fairly complex on-screen drawings such as the aforementioned blue lines; a second reason may be scrolling performances, especially on older devices (Pages still supports the iPhone 3GS). But I think that, overall, Apple decided to use this approach because is consistent with the current iOS text selection and because a major new version of iWork for iOS (possibly requiring iOS 6 or later, not iOS 5.1) could be on track for next year.
Apple has long touted iOS devices as heralds of the post-PC era, but iWork has been far behind its desktop counterpart (originally launched in 2009) for months. I expect iWork 2.0 for iOS to level the field in every area.
While Apple might seem busy releasing a brand new operating system and compatibility updates for their apps on the Mac App Store, that doesn’t mean apps on iOS haven’t been ignored. Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and iTunes U are all receiving small updates that improve compatibility with iCloud, and in iTunes U’s case, adds a way to share your favorite courses with friends through Twitter, Mail, and Messages.
Pages 1.6.1, Numbers 1.6.1, and Keynote 1.6.1
Pages, Numbers, and Keynote have received simple updates that improve compatibility with iCloud for instant document syncing. Document syncing requires Pages 4.2, Numbers 2.2, and Keynote 5.2 respectively on OS X Mountain Lion.
iTunes U 1.2
Sharing courses isn’t the only new feature — iTunes U 1.2 also adds the ability to search within posts, assignments, notes, and materials from the improved search feature from any subscribed course.
Apple just announced the release of the iWork suite for iPhone, available today as a universal update for the existing iPad apps already available on the App Store. With the same feature set of the iPad counterparts, iWork for iPhone promises to let you easily manage and create documents, print them through AirPrint, and share them with iTunes local file sharing. All apps come with a new document manager to organize documents into folders, Keynote brings deeper compatibility with the Keynote Remote sold separately and Pages sports a new feature called “Smart Zoom” for viewing and editing data.
“Now you can use Keynote, Pages and Numbers on iPhone and iPod touch to create amazing presentations, documents and spreadsheets right in the palm of your hand,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The incredible Retina display, revolutionary Multi-Touch interface and our powerful software make it easy to create, edit, organize and share all of your documents from iPhone 4 or iPod touch.”
Keynote, Pages and Numbers import and export documents from iWork for Mac and Microsoft Office; print wirelessly using AirPrint™; and include beautiful Apple-designed themes and templates. All iWork apps now include improved document management with thumbnail images that let you find your files quickly, organize them and group them into folders using intuitive gestures. From the Tools button in the toolbar, you can easily share any presentation, document or spreadsheet without leaving the app.
The three apps — Pages, Numbers and Keynote — retain the same feature set seen on the iPad, with the addition of document manager in the 1.4 universal update and some iPhone-specific views and zoom functionalities to make sure large documents can be edited and viewed easily on the iPhone’s smaller screen. Numbers, for example, comes with the same special keyboards of the iPhone, but places the function toolbars on top. In Pages, media, charts, tables and shapes are accessible from a Camera Roll view and file picker that’s similar to what already happens on the iPad, only smaller.
Check out more screenshots and full press release below. (more…)
Good news for Mac users who rely on Google Docs for their document management needs: the popular online service added support today for 12 more file types — most notably including Apple’s Pages and Adobe’s Illustrator and Photoshop. The full list of supported files below:
Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 / 2010 (.PPTX)
Apple Pages (.PAGES)
Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
XML Paper Specification (.XPS)
The Docs online viewer has thus become a full-featured solution to preview the most popular file formats. In December, Google brought desktop document editing to the iPad.
Just as expected, Apple has released an update for all the three iWork apps currently available on the iPad: Pages, Numbers and Keynote reach version 1.3, which adds support for iOS 4.2 and AirPrint. The updates are rolling out in iTunes now.
Support for iOS 4.2 and AirPrint has been deployed in all the apps, although each of them has got unique new features in the update, too. As far as AirPrint is concerned, version 1.3 includes slide range selection, number of copies, and duplex printing. The three apps also come with Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, and Traditional Chinese localization, bug fixes and overall performance improvements. WebDAV server fixes have been included as well.
Numbers got an enhanced print preview to adjust the the way a sheet is printed across multiple pages, together with a predictive function selector and improved PDF export support. Keynote comes with an enhanced presenter that allows you to display on an external monitor the current slide, the next slide, or your notes. It also got the ability to import and add existing notes to slides. Pages got automatic pagination of tables exceeding page breaks and improved font size selection.
Pages, Keynote and Numbers are available here, here and here, respectively.Pages 1.3 still hasn’t made it through the App Store, we’ll update this post once it’s live. Check out the full changelogs below. [image via Macworld]