Why isn't there a full-featured word processor

Discussion in 'iPad' started by thelookingglass, Aug 28, 2011.

  1. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

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    #1
    Can someone with development expertise please tell me why no software developer has released a full-featured word processor? It surely cannot be due to technical limitations. Is it because of the always-impending threat of MS Office being ported to mobile devices? Curious to know what the answer is - the only thing the iPad is missing in my book is a full-featured word processor that can do things like view and edit track changes, create tables, etc.
     
  2. MrCheeto macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

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  3. thelookingglass thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #3
    Can you view and edit track changes in Pages? Didn't think so ...
     
  4. upaymeifixit macrumors 6502a

    upaymeifixit

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    #4
    Um, I thought so.

    Or do I not understand what you said. "view and edit track changes" Is "track" a verb or a noun in that sentence? If it is a noun, what is a "track change"?
     
  5. thelookingglass thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #5
    There's a feature in MS Word call "track changes" that allows you to see what changes were made to a document. It's used widely in the corporate setting. The inability to EDIT track changes is a big barrier for using the iPad at work.
     
  6. upaymeifixit macrumors 6502a

    upaymeifixit

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    #6
    So tracking the changes is almost like looking at the different revisions? And if that is true, editing a "change" would be editing that revision?

    Is that all iWork is missing?
     
  7. wesrk macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    For everybody? For you sure since you are asking, and I'm sure people out there also consider this a deal breaker, but honestly we use iPads at work, a lot, and I've never heard of someone needing that before. Although it could be that because we have never used it we don't know we need it and if we ever use it we will want it.

    Sounds a lot like what google docs when you share documents does, you can see what and who made changes. Is this how it works on MS Word? I have Office in my work computer, but again, I have never even heard of such feature… but it would be cool to try it.
     
  8. jb1280 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    I think it's a combination of technical/ui limitations and marketing.

    By just looking at Pages for OS X's menu and inspector options, let alone Microsoft Word, I imagine that it would be a major accomplishment to shoehorn it into a word processor for iOS. I'm not saying that it won't get there, but the start small and add features rather than cramming stuff seems like a prudent approach for iOS development.

    Marketing such an app could be equally harrowing. Presumably, a more feature rich word processor would be more than $9.99, but by how much? You would automatically price yourself out of the market who think that Pages is too expensive. Simultaneously, for people clamoring for a "full-featured word processor" and willing to pay more than $9.99, anything less than the complete feature set of Word would be seen as an inherently flawed product.

    It just seems like a project that would be an expensive undertaking resulting in no potential customers being happy.
     
  9. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #9
    Pages is pretty, but bereft of even the most basic features. I don't do any heavy formatting, and I generally don't need to track changes myself. All I really need that Pages doesn't have is footnotes. I cannot believe this is missing. It makes it useless for students and researchers. Amazing, in my opinion. Surely, there must be some kind of technical limitation at work here.
     
  10. mystik610 macrumors regular

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    Jul 23, 2011
    #10
    Not being able to track changes is a deal breaker for me too. I work with lawyers quite a bit in the work I do, and as picky as they are with the way a document is worded, being able to track changes is a must.

    There are a lot of other features missing in iWork and mobile office that make it unreasonable to use for anything work related. Plus, importing a word document into mobile office or iWork screws up the formatting of the document in my experience. Not worth the hassle IMO.

    iWork and Mobile Office are fine for very basic document creation (never going beyond typing text), however in going beyond basic document creation or in needing to export the file outside of the iPad, they are lacking signficantly.
     
  11. Hammie macrumors 65816

    Hammie

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    #11
    I do a lot of proposals for my job and we use track changes constantly. This has always been the biggest limitation for me using the iPad.

    MS Word "track changes" offers quite a bit in the Professional community. It allows us to modify text, add comments, and review it all very quickly. Our legal teams likes this very much for potential audits when dealing with contracts with our customers.
     
  12. thelookingglass thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Yes, exactly. I work in the finance industry and often use the MS Word track changes feature in negotiations with counterparties at other institutions. Surely, this can't be that difficult to implement.
     
  13. solowmodel macrumors 6502

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    #13
    That's a fair enough request. Maybe write a detailed e-mail to the support/feedback team and hope for a future update?
     
  14. FloatingBones macrumors 65816

    FloatingBones

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    #14
    I don't know the exact reason. Apple strives for simpler interfaces in its code; this kind of functionality can add a lot of complexity.

    One approach would be to run MS Word on your iMac and access it remotely with GoToMyPC or one of the other remote-control programs. If you had small edits, you could just do them on the fly. For larger edits, you could enter them on your iPad and then use the remote-control program's file-transfer capability to update the document on your iMac. When necessary, you you could then just look up the deltas on your iMac. You could keep an archive of the various versions as PDF files organized in GoodReader on your iPad. If necessary, you could also generate PDF files of the deltas between different versions and store those on your iPad.

    This isn't a perfect solution, but it's pretty workable if you have a 3G iPad.
     
  15. saberahul macrumors 68040

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    #15
    Full office app? No. The iPad won't be able to handle so much. iWork apps are very powerful themselves are designed to fit everyones needs but I don't think they will have features like tracking or macros until a newer generation arrives with more storage space and higher ram. Pages itself uses over 30mb of ram on my iPad 1 and that's quite a lot for a device with only 256 (true iPad 2 is out but iPad 1 isn't vintage yet).
    The way iWork is moving, I'd say purchase it and use it per your needs other than the technicals. I'm sure it will be updated once Apple sees fit.
    As per other apps, I wasted quite a lot of dough trying them out but they all suck (at least for me). iWork just works and is probably the best at whatever it has to offer. The best feature I think would be document sync using iCloud - something I badly need.
     
  16. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #16
    Developers probably figure that anyone needing such a feature will use the proper tool - which is a computer, not an iPad.
     
  17. mystik610 macrumors regular

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    #17
    I agree. A FULL keyboard and mouse, and a desktop OS is still necessary to utilize MS Office in a professional setting.

    The iPad is a tool of convenience, and as such, involves a lot of compromises. It is what it is.
     
  18. upaymeifixit macrumors 6502a

    upaymeifixit

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    #18
    I also agree, but I think it is somewhat ironic because Apple seems to want people to do everything on the iPad don't they?

    ----------

    This is a good enough answer for me.
     
  19. mystik610 macrumors regular

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    #19


    That's a load of hot air IMO. If that were true, then they should discontinue their Macbook and Mac lines because there wouldn't be a market for them. I agree that the iPad is great most of the time, but there are still tasks that are impossible to handle on a tablet, or best handled on a laptop or PC.

    We're eventually going to see a convergence of mobile and desktop OS's, but it will have to involve a convergence of the touch screen and the keyboard and mouse. The iPad is a great companion device, but there will always be a time in your day when you need to sit down and grind it out productively. You really need the precision of a full-fledged keyboard and mouse to do anything productive IMO. The Asus Epad transformer and Windows 8 are a step in the right direction IMO.
     
  20. hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    #20
    Simple - iPad is not a suitable tool for any serious word processing. For that, you need a real computer with keyboard and mouse/trackpad. I have tried just about every iPad "office" suite - Office2, QuickOffice, iWork for iOS - their usefulness is limited to basic document viewing and maybe a few very simple changes.. But complex document creation or editing is out of the question.

    Part of it is due to limited memory / compute power of iOS devices. But most importantly, touch interface is too cumbersome for complex document editing / manipulation. That part will never go away, even as touch tablets gain in compute power.
     
  21. palpatine macrumors 68040

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    #21
    Actually, when you use a bluetooth keyboard with the iPad it becomes much more functional. Obviously, it still lacks the ability to see a document creation project through to completion, but it can get surprisingly far with drafts, revisions, proofreading, etc. Learning the keyboard shortcuts is the key. I used to miss having a mouse for editing, but not anymore.
     
  22. hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    #22
    Never tried BT keyboard with iPad, but I am sure it does make things easier. Although, I am sure various "select / drag" functions that can't be easily done with keyboard are still a pain.

    The other problem with iPad as a serious document editing tool is the lack of compatibility of file formats between the iOS and Desktop versions. Even with Apple's own iWork - things don't work very smoothly between say Pages for iPad and Pages for Mac, when dealing with complex documents. And when it comes to Microsoft Office formats - forgetaboutit. Not even worth trying. Perhaps this situation will change if Microsoft ever decides to release native Office for iOS.. I am not holding my breath though.
     
  23. iOSWriter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 31, 2011
    #23
    Or a stylus. A stylus adds that precision edge a multi touch screen lacks. Why is apple so against styluses? Is it cause the pda and the Newton?
    http://www.tablets.com/uncategorized/apples-first-tablet-wasnt-the-ipad/

    ----------

    But none of Apple's apps evend esktop ones are as functional as Microsofts. So how come your blaming the iPad and not apple for leaving always so many features out when they do this on every platform? How do you know the iPad cant handle it? Maybe it can and apple just doesnt care just like they dont care to update iWeb and many other apps on desktop?
     
  24. Dreamer2go macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Simple solution
    Just use apps like Splashtop, remotely connect to your computer at home, and you can use your full feature word processor

    okay you don't have wifi?
    Then get a Macbook Air........
     
  25. hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    #25
    This is a joke, right?
     

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