So, I recently picked up a copy of “Pages”, Apple’s word processor, for the iPad to review. I have been tinkering with it for a few days now, and I’m going to tell you what I think about. What? You don’t wanna listen to my opinion? Too bad; you’re reading it, so it won’t matter what you are listening to. This App, much like most things Apple, is done in a very classy way. I’m going to be looking at the general feel and usage of the App, the ability to make a file that your computer at work or school would understand, and the price value of the App. Let’s get this first in the “Alice Cooper Lied” series of reviews rolling.
First off, whenever you look at an App made by Apple, you’ll often be able to tell right away. Even if someone doesn’t tell you that Apple made it, usually you can tell. Apple has a way of trying to make things look like a classic artisan made everything they do. Someone who spent a lot of time and painstaking late nights drawing, and re-drawing the GUI until it gets the official sign of from Steve. With this in mind; How does Pages, for the iPad, measure up? In my opinion it measures up very well. I have some minor complaints, which I will address here in a bit, but over all I am quite pleased with the App. I am not going to go to much into detail about how you add in photos to your documents, which is very easy to do, nor am I going to write you a tutorial how to make use of all of it’s features, but I will give you an idea of how it compares to other word processors. The GUI is very classy. When you are typing, much like I am doing now, you are presented with a GUI that resembles a table top calendar. You know the type; the kind you see on some big wigs desk that has soft brown leather at the top, and to leather tabs in the bottom corners to hold the disposable cheap gaudy Monthly Calendars that he ordered from your kid’s fund raiser catalog last X-mas? Yeah, that’s the one. All the buttons are in the leathery looking bit at top, and the empty pages beneath are white. I’d personally like the ability to turn that page “Sepia” like the iBooks App, but that’s just me. You have most of the common buttons that you could need. There is a field where you can select the style of text entry you would like; Header, Body, Footer, and the like. You have a button for BOLD, Italics, and Underline, as well as your four different text alignments. And there is a button for certain short cuts such as; Tab, Line Break, Page Break, etc. You can also set the margin, this comes in very handy. There is a button to add pictures, charts, tables, and shapes, as well as a wrench that will allow you to access the document setup and some other options such as “find in page”. One minor complaint is that the little “i” icon that holds the Style, Layout, and List options is also where you find the font options, buried at the bottom as “Text Options”. I am of the mind that this should be a separate button for fast access. You can also get rid of the leathery tool bar, if you so choose, but to me that’s what makes it a word processor, and not just another “notes” App. There is also this cool, and invisible, page navigator. All you do is press and hold your finger down on the right side of the document, and wait for the navigator to pop up. It will tell you the page number, as well as show you a thumbnail of the page. Once the navigator pops up just slide your finger up and down the iPad to get to the page you’re looking for. There is an undo button, but it seems to take away HUGE chunks of text as opposed to just one word. I suggest avoiding it and the CMD+Z key combination. Redo is easy though, just press and long hold for the Undo/Redo window to pop up. My Documents is a nice feature as well. It has a nice background and shows you thumbnails of the first page of your documents, as well as tell you the title. The one minor complaint I have is that in order to name your document, you have to press my documents, then click the name it’s given by default (which is usually whatever template you used), and then edit the name. I think it’d be easier if you could just click on the name in the leathery bit and change it there.
While in my documents, you can export the document to a few different places. You can email the document, share it over iwork.com (presumably for free for now), and also export it. If you choose export the document, you can choose from Pages, Word, and PDF. To export it to your computer, using the export option, you connect it to your computer via the USB cable, and then run itunes, and click Export. The computer should take care of the rest. Once the document is there you can print it from the Application that you normally use. This is a little out of the way, but in the long run it could be worse. I would like to see them implement bluetooth syncing, in the future. If you own a Mac, you already have bluetooth built in, so it would really be useful. Some people have complained that when using the iPad version of Keynote that they have some problems aligning things so it looks right. I’ve not seen this problem with Pages, so far. What I see on my iPad is what I get on my MacBook. I have not tried the iWork.com beta yet, because I don’t have iWork 09′. You can also import documents from your home computer through iTunes.
Now, over all value. I don’t know how much you would spend on a good quality word processor, or notes App, but if I had my choice, Pages would be my first choice for on the iPad. Here in the states, it will run you $9.99, plus uncle Sam’s cut. If you were to just buy the iWork suite from Apple for your Mac, Pages would be roughly $26, even though you have to buy the whole thing at $79.99 here in the US. If you already have Pages on your Mac, ten dollars per App for your iPad is a good deal. If you’re not planning on buying anything for your home computer, or laptop and just want to use some of the free open source Office Suites, this will work just fine with any of them. Just export it as a word document, and then move on. I would have to say over all, between ease of use, the pretty factor, the options for exporting, and value, I would rate this App a 9 out of 10. Why not a perfect 10? The few complaints, though minor, are bothersome, and they are things that could easily be worked in to make the experience much more fluid, and for that, I’m sorry but ya’ll get one point taken away.
App Rated on a 10 point scale.
*Be sure to keep an eye out for the wrap up and see where Pages ends up in the final call.