When Pages for iOS was released alongside the iPad in 2010, it was a showcase of all that was possible with Apple’s revolutionary tablet. A natural extension of the Mac app, it set the tone for multitouch content creation, with powerful page layout and word processing templates plus tools that complemented the ones we used on our MacBooks. With the new version 2.0 release, however, Pages is no longer a companion app. A complete rewrite for iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks has brought parity across all platforms, and you’ll find the same templates, menus, and features everywhere you go, with a strong emphasis on collaboration and editing.
The first thing you’ll notice is the interface. We expected the distressed leather to disappear, but the stark white menu bar remains a bit of a surprise, with virtually nothing to separate it from the document below (especially if the ruler is hidden). Something more akin to the web app’s darker interface would have been preferred, but we were able to access formatting and text options just as easily using the minimal toolbar, with many of the quick settings happily relegated to a new strip that sits above the keyboard.
A new in-document menu makes it easy to share files while you’re working on them, but that’s just the start of what Pages has to offer in this department. Thanks to a new unified file format and stronger iCloud syncing, shared document links are always kept up to date — including any comments or notations that have been made at iCloud.com — adding a powerful level of near-instant collaboration. And unless you’ve used a desktop font that iOS doesn’t understand, documents will appear the same on every screen.
There aren’t a whole lot of other features to speak of, but if you use Pages to create a lot of online reports, the new set of interactive charts and graphs will make it easy to add a professional touch. A greater compatibility with Office takes the pain out of working with Word documents, plus the ePub exporting is a nice touch, but our favorite new addition is a bit more subtle: We finally have a word processor that lets us count words in a selection.
Even on the zippy iPad Air, we found that our documents were slower to open than with the previous version, and we wished our iPhone could dynamically display text so we didn’t have to pinch and slide so often. Also, we’d like to be able to rename a file without returning to the document viewer every time. Hopefully we don’t have to wait ’til Pages 3.0 to see those tweaks and optimizations implemented.
The bottom line. Pages 2.0 is a functional, clean redesign fit for iOS 7, but don’t expect to find too many new features.