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In a significant stain on the otherwise welcome announcement that iWork would now be free for Mac and iOS users, many long-time users were surprised to find that the updated version no longer included several important features in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. As AppleInsider relates, Apple has now responded to these criticisms with a new support page stating that we'll see the features added again within the next six months.
Not surprisingly, the decision to remove features such as customizable toolbars was met with hostility on Apple's support forums. Apple's response essentially states that what we're seeing is a beta version that wasn't labeled as such. In Apple's words, "The new iWork applications--Pages, Numbers, and Keynote--were rewritten from the ground up to be fully 64-bit and to support a unified file format between OS X and iOS 7 versions, as well as iWork for iCloud beta.
As a result, the document says, "some features from iWork '09 were not available for release." According to Apple, "in the next few releases" we'll see a keyboard shortcuts for text styles, a vertical rule, and an option to arrange pages and sections in Page's thumbnail view. Object placement will also improve, and we'll see a way to import cells with images from Numbers.
As for Numbers itself, we'll once again have access to the ability to sort multiple columns and auto-complete information in cells. For that matter, we'll also have the ability to set custom headers and footers and zoom as we please. Keynote doesn't seem to be as heavily hit, but the updates will bring back the slide transitions familiar to users of the 2009 version.
Throw in the poor support of AppleScript for Keynote and Numbers, and it's easy to see why users are in an uproar. The omissions from Pages and Numbers seem particularly disappointing, as they strip much of the programs' office functionality in favor of a design that's good for merely looking at documents at best. It certainly doesn't help that the omissions lend some weight to Frank Shaw's dismissal of iWork as a suite of "struggling, lightweight productivity apps" in the eyes of critics.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.