Following the introduction of Apple’s new iWork apps at its iPad Air event earlier this week, an increasing number of users have taken to Apple’s support forums to voice concerns over the removal of features as the apps receive new simplified user interfaces that bring them more in line with the iOS versions. Several pages of complaints from users in Apple’s forums point out that many features, those mostly used by power users, have been removed from Apple’s new redesigned version of Pages:

Why does Apple get rid of so many useful features in new pages? iWork 13 has been a huge disappointment and nothing more than a downgrade to match the capabilities of the iOS iWork apps.  If Apple simply made performance upgrades to iWork 09 I would have been happy.  I hope there is a way to get back to the most up to date version of iWork 09.

It comes down to this. Apple has discontinued Pages in its entirety. You can no longer download it or purchase it, and Apple won’t support it. Apple has simultaneously introduced a completely new and different product, also called Pages, that is designed for different users and different use cases. Despite the name, it is not a successor to Pages (old), except in the licensing terms, it is completely a completely different species of animal. Those of us who depended on Pages (old) cannot use Pages (new). We have to save all our Pages files in a widely used format and import them into a new word processor that supports the formatting.

Pages isn’t the only app, users are also hitting Apple’s forums to list features that have been removed from the redesigned versions of Keynote, Numbers, and iMovie:

It appears that Apple has decided to make the Mac versions of iLife and iWorks apps identical to the IOS versions on the iPad. This required a “dumbing down” of the Mac versions which they did in the newly released versions. I see this in iMovie ’13 which among other missing old features is the ability to group Projects into folders (like Family, Vacations, etc.) which is extremely important when you have a few dozen or more projects.

In another forum, it is clear they did the same thing with iWorks:

As a dedicated user of the iWork applications I looked forward to seeing what new features Apple was going to support. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am – all three represent regressions IMHO. Read through the discussion about Pages, Keynote and Numbers, and you will see right away that people are deeply puzzled with the features that have vanished. It sure seems in an effort to make the iWork apps more like their iOS cousins that Apple has dumbed down and severely limited the OS X versions.

The missing features in Pages alone range from the removal of keyboard shorcuts, the floating inspector panel, custom text autocorrection, and alignment tools to lack of support for AppleScript. Some have pointed out that installing the new versions of iWork doesn’t remove the old versions of iWork 09. The old apps are still accessible in the applications folder, which could be a move by Apple to provide users with an alternative to the new apps while it works to bring back features it removed during the redesign.

It’s not the first time in recent years that Apple has received criticism for removing features while redesigning an app to focus on a more simplified user interface. In 2011, Apple released a scaled-back Final Cut Pro X that received much criticism from pro users. Apple eventually responded, issued refunds to unsatisfied customers, and launched a new campaign to try and win pro customers back. Apple has been slowly adding back many of the features that professional complained were removed from Final Cut Pro X, so it’s always possible that could also be the case with Pages and the other new iWork and iLife apps.

Apple’s redesigned iWork apps come alongside the announcement that all iWork and iLife apps will now be available for free to all new devices (and those purchased after Oct.1). Apple also launched its new web-based iWork for iCloud beta with collaboration features and support for the new Pages for Mac and iOS this week.

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About the Author

Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.