Apple's iWork free upgrade has angered longtime Mac power users, who have flooded the company's support forum with complaints about lost features.
One customer called Apple "serial software killers," while others collaborated to list the features Apple dropped in Pages, the word processing application and the most popular of the three that make up the iWork suite. Among the Pages tools that went AWOL in last week's upgrade: endnotes, the outline view, selection of noncontiguous text, facing pages, saving files in RTF format, significant limitations in automating workflow using AppleScript, and more than 100 ready-to-use templates.
"Even the things you can still do are harder to get to now," argued Alistair Cullum. "Having a minimal interface makes sense in iOS, where space is limited, but in OS X I don't see the need to strip away toolbars, sidebars, etc."
Two pertinent threads on Apple's support forum -- here and here -- combined for nearly 900 comments and had been viewed almost 50,000 times, both large numbers by any measure and an illustration of how many have been affected by the update. Few of the customers commenting in the two threads had anything nice to say about Apple's move.
Last week, Apple released new versions of iWork for OS X, and announced that the three applications would be handed free of charge to buyers of new Macs. Users who had previously purchased Pages, Numbers, or Keynote would also receive free upgrades.
Apple last shipped a major upgrade for OS X's iWork in 2009.
The move followed a similar announcement Sept. 10, when Apple said it was giving the iOS iWork apps to customers who bought a new iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
Bloggers and pundits also weighed in on the move, speculating that Apple's prime motivator was to make the iOS and OS X editions file- and feature-compatible, a decision that required it to scale back the desktop applications' feature sets.
"The fact that iWork on the Mac has lost functionality isn't because Apple is blind to power users. It's because they're willing to make a short-term sacrifice in functionality so that they can create a foundation that is equal across the Mac, iOS, and Web versions," said Nigel Warren, a user experience designer.
But that explanation didn't sit well with users.
"One of the problems with never doing consumer research is that Apple has lost touch with how serious users actually use the product," said Luke Christian. "Quite simply, I would never, ever, want to write a Pages document or a Keynote presentation on my phone.... What might seem supercool to Apple dudes on campus in California is not very practical in the real world of making a living in London."