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Pages, Keynote, and Numbers Receive Minor Updates

With the October 2013 release of Pages 5, Keynote 6, and Numbers 3, Apple radically revised its iWork suite (see “New Free iLife and iWork Apps Share across Devices and Platforms,” 22 October 2013). But these major updates were not so much improvements as rewrites meant to bring the Mac apps into lockstep with their iOS versions and with the new iWork for iCloud beta.

Previously, although it had been possible to share documents between the Mac and iOS versions, various aspects of your documents could be lost in the transition. With these rewrites, Apple pivoted the problem. iWork documents can now round trip between Mac OS X, iOS, and iCloud without problems, because Apple changed the underlying file formats and removed the offending features from the Mac versions of the apps.

Once this strategy became apparent, it was met with screams of outrage from users who relied on the missing features. (To its credit, Apple didn’t replace the iWork ’09 versions of the apps with these new ones, so people could continue relying on the more capable previous versions if necessary.) Several weeks later, Apple released an uncharacteristic public acknowledgement of the feature losses and a promise to bring back some features.

In rewriting these applications, some features from iWork ’09 were not available for the initial release. We plan to reintroduce some of these features in the next few releases and will continue to add brand new features on an ongoing basis.

Let’s not be too congratulatory here — it’s a support document, not an apology from Tim Cook. Plus, Apple was responding to public criticism, not proactively addressing concerns. And Apple’s promise itself, while better than the previous silence, basically reiterates the status quo — just about any program from any developer receives new features over time. That’s how the software business works. What we’re now seeing now are the first updates that start to bring back earlier features.

So what’s new? The main change in Pages 5.0.1, Keynote 6.0.1, and Numbers 3.0.1 is the capability to customize the toolbar with the tools you use most often. (That was first on the list in the support document; I wonder if Apple will update it.) Pages 5.0.1 also now has center and edge guides turned on by default. Keynote 6.0.1 adds seven transitions and seven builds (some of which are returning from the grave; others appear to be entirely new). And Numbers 3.0.1 once again remembers window size and placement on save and lets you set the default zoom in the preferences, both of which are basic oversights that worked fine in Numbers 2.3.

All the updates also promise “Stability improvements and bug fixes,” and all three are available from Software Update. Here’s hoping we see additional updates soon.


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Comments about Pages, Keynote, and Numbers Receive Minor Updates
(Comments are closed.)

Charlie Hartley  2013-11-22 12:52
You guys are great! Who else gives us news from the year 2103?
xairbusdriver  2013-11-25 16:43
I'm with you. If they just wanted to make things work on both platforms, they needed to update the crippled apps in iOS not cripple the ones that already worked fine in OS X. So far, I've seen not return of the important things they chopped.

And this whole fiasco brought to light the changes in 'hiding' apps in the App Store. Even Apple's support page on that is out-of-date. Even worse, hiding an app does NOT keep an Update Notification form happening! :haedbash: My work around is to download the unwanted apps and their updates, and then delete them. At least the irritating Updates Available messages stip! ...until the next update, of course.

I may try some 'experimenting with the BOM files to see if I can 'trick' the App Store into stop this behavior. But I assume Apple will still have it's own DB showing I need the updates, even when I don't want them. :+(
joestoner  2013-11-26 01:02
Totally agree:
don't cripple a software that works perfectly; power up the iOS versions.
I've got the latest version of Numbers in my Downloads to prevent the incessant messages from the App Store; but occasionally one of my spreadsheets (when opened from Finder) uses v3.0!!!
Very annoying.
By the way thanks to your staffer who tried to help me use v3.0.
Dale Steele  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2013-11-27 16:55
I have a separate iWorks problem on my new iMac. I set it up with a backup from my MBAir including unused 2009 iWorks apps under another family member AppleID. I now have the new free versions & both are under the wrong AppleID. I do have the new iOS versions under my AppleID at least.
Simple deleting and re-downloading under my account doesn't fix the problem and Apple seems to give me that as my only option which I'm trying to elevate. Any other tips appreciated.

Thanks, Dale
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-11-28 09:58
Yeah, I think working with Apple support is going to be the best bet here - problems with multiple Apple IDs aren't something anyone else can really solve.
Dale Steele  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2013-12-02 20:20
Right you are and I took care of it with shared desktop help from Apple Support. Thanks. Dale
Peter Breis  2014-01-19 14:29
The revelatory aspect of all this was that Apple mislead its users about what was happening and knowingly let the new Apps open, damage and then auto save the damaged files on users' Macs.

They obviously knew what the apps did to previous files, because they removed 2/3rds of the previous templates that would break in the new versions.

What does that say?

That Apple doesn't give even a passing thought as to its customers needs/work, or they are spectacularly incompetent. Or both.

So many naïve new (and some old) customers have been persuaded to put all their trust in Apple and its assurances that it will do the right thing. Leave update on Auto, store files in iCloud, use Apple proprietary formats.

Unfortunately I don't think they are learning any lessons. Even if they know what is going on. Most of them don't even know they have different software on their Macs, despite the radical change in appearance!
joestoner  2014-01-20 03:29
Sadly your comments "don't care or spectacularly incompetent" seem to be borne out with their silence and lack of fixes for this rubbish.
I've stopped bug reporting as the quality of the "staff" supervising has dropped drastically; sadly costs are king and the bean-counters are running the show.
I'm investigating Linux as a long term solution to this mess as I "pay throughout the nose" for Apple's legendary quality but if a superb pice of hardware is shackled by STUPID software and systems it's BROKE. Shades of John Scully almost destroying Apple in the '90s.
Apple MUST be run by engineers, designers and visionaries NOT MBA Twonks!