Declining Apple Software By Joshua Blagden | JB - Mac Help | JBlagden

Declining Apple Software By Joshua Blagden

As much as I like Apple, some of its software has been regressing lately. Specifically, User Interface changes and feature removals.

In the past year or two, Apple’s software has declined. Specifically:

1. iWork

2. iMovie


iWork:

iWork’s GUI was changed to match that of its iOS and web counterparts. Even though this doesn’t seem like much of a change in functionality, it certainly is irritating. My entire life, regardless of the program or the operating system, the toolbars were on the top, not on the side. I find this change to be a step too far. Also, when the new iWork apps first debuted, all AppleScript support had been removed. Of equal, if not greater, importance is the removal of the formula bar in Numbers. To show what I mean about the GUI changes in iWork, take a look of these screenshots of Pages ’09 and the new revised version of Pages.

Here’s Pages ’09: 

In stark contrast, here’s the current version of Pages:

The new sidebar takes up extra space on the screen and it’s rather distracting. And if you hide the sidebar, you can’t easily get to the controls for things like spacing, font, and alignment. The old version on the other hand, has all of those controls on the top bar, which is where they should be. I understand that Apple is trying to make using iWork easier by using the same User Interface for the Mac, iOS, and web versions of the suite, but in so doing, they are making it less usable. What they should have done is made the iOS and web versions more like the Mac version.

Fortunately, I rarely ever need to make a spreadsheet and don’t need to make presentations anymore, though I might again eventually. In lieu of Pages, I use TextEdit and Write2. I use TextEdit for bullet-style notes and Write2 for all other text-based documents. The other benefits of TextEdit and Write2 are that they can use RTF and Word formats natively, without changing formats. 

Aside from the GUI changes, the downside of iWork is that, as nice as it is, about 90% of the world uses Microsoft Office. To edit an Office document in iWork, you have to import it as an iWork document and later export it as an Office document. This might seem like a small sacrifice at first, but it can be a big pain. Imagine a project where you have to create 3 or 4 documents. Imagine having to export each and every one of them as a Word document. What if you forget to export them as Word documents and accidentally send them in the original Pages format? What if the conversion process removed some formatting? What if the converted documents are too bloated to send in an email? 

The only redeeming iWork app is Keynote, which is vastly superior to Powerpoint, and is a lot more user friendly. However, if you know that you will need to present your presentation on a Windows PC or send it to someone who is likely using a Windows PC you have two options: 1. Use minimal effects and basic ones at that(i.e. cube and crossfade), or 2. Export the presentation as a Quicktime movie; the quality will be a little lower, but at least Keynote’s awesome effects will remain.

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iMovie 10

Even though iMovie 10 is nice because it can export movies without finalizing, it drops two useful features. Specifically, it doesn’t save projects as individual files which can be accessed by a user and shared. It also drops the ability to have the video viewer on a secondary monitor. For these two reasons, I find it preferable to use iMovie 9.0.9. Fortunately, Apple didn’t remove it when it included iMovie 10 in OS X Yosemite last year. You can find iMovie 9.0.9 in your Applications folder. 

Hopefully, you haven’t made too many movies in iMovie 10. I only made one and also a shorter version of the same movie, so it’s not too much work for me to recreate them in iMovie 9.0.9. It’s a lot better to have individual project files instead of lumping them together into one big library file, particularly if you want to share a project file with someone or if you need to make room on your hard drive or Solid State Drive. It’s also nice to have the timeline on one monitor and the viewer on the other. 

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Fortunately, the older versions of the iWork apps and iMovie are still in your Applications folder. iMovie 9.0.9 is in a folder which has the same name and the iWork apps are in a folder titled “ iWork '09”. This makes it easier to go back and use the older versions of these four programs. Though, any iWork document which was created or edited in the newer version of iWork will not  work in the older version.

© Joshua Blagden & Justin Barczak 2013-2015
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