The Keyboardless Office: A Review of iWork for iPad

Posted on April 20, 2010 by

Ars Technica has a review of iWork for the iPad.  It sounds like Apple has some work to do before the iWork apps will be of much use for anyone who uses them in the work environment. The biggest problems seem to be with exporting documents to other formats and the lack of print support.

From Ars Technica:

The validity of the iPad as a casual device—something you can use to check your e-mail, surf the Internet on the couch, or watch a movie in bed—has never really been in question.  The real question is, “Can I convince my boss to buy me one?” Unless your boss is Michael Scott, chances are he’s going to want to know if you can actually be productive with it. With its port of the iWork desktop suite, Apple is hoping that you can be, and that the iPad can be more than a toy.

In the end, using iWork for the iPad is a lot like going to the moon. It might be a nice place to visit, and it may even be fun to bounce around for a bit, play a little golf, or buzz around in that sweet little moon buggy, but in the end, it’s not a place I’d like to live, or even stay for any extended amount of time. iWork is decent, but there is only so much you can do for an office suite without a full keyboard and a mouse.

So while iWork is usable on Apple’s new “magical” device, it probably won’t cut it for serious users. If you need to make an on-the-fly change to a document or presentation, you might lose some formatting or suffer some other unexpected quirks. What Apple calls file sharing, I call a pain, and the inability to print just magnifies things.

iWork for the iPad won’t replace most people’s desktop office suite. It may be OK for your grandmother, but without a way to print, even that is doubtful. But if you need to make a quick change or two in a cab, in coach, or in a cramped telephone booth, iWork is definitely serviceable.

Read the full review here.

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