Pages – iPad App of the Week

September 7, 2010

Pages – iPad App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will work on the iPod touch or the iPad, some will be iPad only apps.

This week’s App is Pages.

Pages is the most beautiful word processing app ever designed for a mobile device. It’s the application you know and love for the Mac, completely reworked from the ground up for iPad. Documents look stunning on the bright, vivid iPad display. And writing is a dream with the large onscreen keyboard. You can use Apple-designed templates and Multi-Touch gestures to lay out letters, flyers, brochures, reports, and more. With Pages for iPad, it’s never been easier to create great-looking documents, all with the touch of a finger.

Pages has everything you need to create and share documents, including beautiful Apple-designed templates, easy-to-use formatting options, and advanced layout tools. Start with the perfect template and its matching styles. Or personalize your document using your choice of colors, fonts, and textures. Pages makes it easy to format your document. Style text, insert tabs, and set indents and margins with the streamlined style ruler. Use the Media Browser to add photos and videos from your Photos app. And make them look great with masks, shadows, reflections, and picture frames. You can resize, rotate, and move images around the page, and dynamic word wrapping automatically flows your text around them. Touch and tap to convert your document to multiple columns and insert tables to organize your data.

£5.99

Though it was always possible to type stuff on your iPhone or iPod touch, it was never really a wonderful experience and you wouldn’t want to use it for writing long documents.

When the iPad was released I was very keen to see if it could be used as a laptop replacement, especially during conferences and events. I do actually write a fair bit at conferences and events, either short articles for the blog or stuff for work. So I knew I would need a word processing app of some kind, as the Notes app wasn’t really going to hack it. Of course at the iPad release Apple also released their iWork apps, including the Pages word processing app. I do like Pages on the Mac so was interested to see if the iPad version would be any good. I actually purchased Pages (and the other iWork apps) before my iPad had arrived so I could use these apps straight away.

Rather than do an immediate review I decided to wait a few months to see how it fared. I have used Pages at home, work and at various events and conferences.

At the end of the day the key question is do I use Pages to write documents?

The answer is yes. I have used Pages to write a fair few documents and blog articles (including a first draft of this posting). I have also used it to draft e-mail and blog comments to avoid “losing” any text in case I needed to swap between Safari and other apps. I have used both the on screen keyboard and used an Apple Bluetooth keyboard.

As I attend conferences and events this academic year I expect the iPad to be my main word processing application.

Pages though is a lot more than just a simple word processor, if all you need is a simple word processor then the included Notes app is probably just fine.

With Pages it is possible to use different styles, fonts and weights. Allowing you to create formatted documents very easily. Though you will have to use the built-in fonts and you won’t be able to use your own.

Like its big brother on the Mac there are various templates to get you started, though nearly everytime I start off with a blank document.

Where I think Pages falls down is on document management, specifically getting documents on and off the iPad. For example in getting documents off the iPad you have three quite limited options.

You also need to remember to Export your document if you want to remove it via the file management part of iTunes! Sending via e-mail is often the easiest option, whilst iWork.com is really in my opinion still in beta and you will need a MobileMe account to use this option. There are three Export options, Pages, PDF and Word.

Once you have exported you can share that exported file via one of the file sharing Apps such as AirSharing.

Getting files into Pages is not that simple. Even if you copy files over through iTunes, you then still need to import them again into the Pages App.

Not sure why and not sure why it doesn’t do this automatically. You have to specific Pages in iTunes!

Import and export aside, the Pages App is quite powerful allowing you to bring in images, shapes and create graphs for your documents.

Overall I do like this App, it’s powerful, it’s flexible and it’s easy to use. I know some people will baulk at the £5.99 price tag for what is an iPad app, but come on lets be realistic, £5.99 for a word processor, that isn’t that bad. If you have an iPad I would recommend this app.

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Publishing an e-Book

August 27, 2010

Apple have just updated their Pages word processing application to enable you to export your publication in ePub format.

The ePub format is a standard e-book format that works within Apple’s iBooks apps on the iPad and the iPhone.

It is also works on many other e-book readers, though not on Amazon’s Kindle!

Apple have released some guidance and help on choosing between ePub and PDF.

There are other ways of creating ePub publications, but if you already have and are familiar with Pages then it does give you a very easy way to create an ePub e-book.

There are many different e-book formats which makes life challenging for anyone who wants to create e-books or resources in an e-book format for their learners.


You can do what with the iPad?

March 13, 2010

Many people see the iPad as a BIG iPod touch, something that is used to view content on. Though it does have a microphone, unlike the iPhone is does not have a camera.

There is though one aspect of the iPad that Apple have announced that I think some people have missed and that will be the availability of iPad versions of the iWork applications. Apple will at the same time as they release the iPad, release iPad versions of their presentation software, Keynote, wordprocessing software, Pages and spreadsheet software, Numbers.

There are also rumours that Microsoft may be working on a version of Office for the iPad.

So what does this all mean?

Well is turns the iPad from a mainly content consumption device to a device that can allow the user to both consume and create content.

So what you may say, I have a laptop that does just that!

Well it’s pretty certain that the iPad is no laptop, even Steve Jobs in his iPad announcement says that the iPad sits between the iPhone and a laptop.

However I don’t see the iPad replacing my laptop all the time, but in some circumstances I can see it replacing it some of the time.

For example in meetings, the iPad is going to be more useful than a laptop for checking information, using Pages to make notes, etc…

Likewise in conferences (where there are in some sessions no tables), the iPad (with the long battery life) will make it easier to engage in the back channel, makes notes, check URLs, share thoughts and impressions, and all the other conference stuff that at the moment most people do with a notepad and a pencil.

For learners an iPad may be a better device to bring to lessons, with easy access to e-books (and these may be getting more engaging and interactive), internet access, web tools; the ability to also create notes using Pages, or enter notes using tools like Evernote more easily than on an iPod touch or iPhone, I can certainly see many learners preferring the lightweight feel of the iPad, over a heavier laptop. Then again they might want to buy a netbook!

I don’t use spreadsheets much so I don’t see much of a use for Numbers. However I do give a lot of presentations and having Keynote on the iPad makes a lot of sense to me.

I’ve always thought that Apple should have made a Keynote Presentation App for the iPhone; you would create your presentation on the Mac, sync to the iPhone and then on the iPhone would be a little App that allowed you to both view the App on the iPhone screen, or using the AV cable you can get, show the presentation through a projector or TV. One of the issues though with that is Apps can’t use the AV cable! I guess an Apple App could, but maybe not.

If Keynote on the iPad can use the AV Cable and hopefully then other applications will also be able to use the AV out.

Of course the Keynote App for the iPad allows you to create presentations, and I really do like using Keynote as my primary presentation tool.

Overall I think Keynote and Pages for the iPad, have turned the iPad into for me from a “maybe” purchase to a “more than likely” purchase.