Having a virtually full-fledged word processor like Apple's Pages iWork app [$9.99- iTunes Link] on the iPad is a big deal. There has been a lot of discussion, however, about how Pages would work on the iPad. How do I transfer/ sync documents? How will my formatting be effected?
I had to use Pages to do some document editing for a house flyer for our home (we are in the process of selling). I figured what a great opportunity to give Pages a spin. First, I had to get the document on the iPad. Email or iTunes? The Pages file was 12MB so I opted to transfer it via iTunes. The process was simple; I selected the Pages app from the bottom of the Apps tab with my iPad attached to my iMac. I clicked the add files button and chose my Pages file. I synced the iPad and my house flyer appeared in the document list in pages.
After importing the house flyer into Pages, I was not greeted with any formatting warnings (to be fair I have imported Microsoft Word documents and did receive warnings. It was hit and miss; some documents looked identical, others, not so much) and I began editing immediately. But, there was one problem...
I did not know where anything was or how it worked! So, I had to start to play. Where do I change my fonts besides a style? How to I change a graphic to wrap through text and not around it? These were all challenges that with time, I was able to figure out. I would estimate it took a good 30 minutes to fully comprehend how things worked and use the app. Tabs, columns, watermarks, images and graphics can all be added to a document with relative ease.
Using Pages to create and edit my document was... pure joy. Touching your document was fun, and after the initial learning curve, it was easy. Your created documents not only look good, but you have complete control over their flow which is more than ANY other mobile app of this type can offer.
With my editing done, it was time to get my document back to my iMac desktop. So, I had couple of options. I could email, but the file is still to big. I could send as a PDF, but I want to continue to edit the file. I could send it to iWork.com. But, I don't want the hassle. What do I do? Well, there is an export option as well. You can export the file as a Pages, PDF or Word Document. Once this is done, the document is available to be saved from iTunes on the same tab I used to uploaded it from my iMac. Now it gives me a choice to save to my iMac when I dock my iPad.
Now I have to admit that iWork.com may ultimately be a better solution for accessing edited documents in larger quantities. If I had to transfer several documents it would be tedious doing it through iTunes, but still doable. However, accessing iWork.com on the iPad allows you to download the pages file right there and begin editing. When done, sending to iWork.com is just as easy.
This app is not entirely made from unicorn tears however. I did encounter issues with Pages crashing and being sluggish at times, regardless of the document size. I can easily cut Apple slack on this since it is a 1.0 product. I have confidence Apple will release updates for stability and functionality just like its desktop big brother. Still, don't let these little nuances dissuade you; make no mistake that this is an unparalleled best-in-class app from the user interface to it's core functionality.
If you have an iPad and need to create or edit documents, this is a must buy.