Small things can be beautiful.

I’ve had Pages and Numbers for the Mac since I bought it, and although OTA (Over the Air) syncing was painfully limited at first I picked up the iPad versions pretty much as soon as I could get my grubby screen-prodding fingers* on them. iPhone compatibility seemed inevitable, but like everyone else I was dubious of the apps potential usability on the smaller screen. So today iPhone (and of course iPod) support finally arrived, with little fanfare from Apple but numerous tweets and blog posts from the iCommunity (everything gets so much more pretentious when you i it). As they’re not new apps, they’re simply new versions with iPhone support (note the little [+] icon in the App Store) if you already have the iPad version there is no need to spend again. Just download the app and you’ll be informed that you already own it and asked to confirm the download.

Now, the question on everyone’s lips: is it actually usable?

Pages certainly is. It doesn’t suffer noticeably for the smaller screen and rendering (on the retina display at least) is stunning. It does suffer from the iPhone’s general unsuitability for lengthy amounts of typing, but will be useful for edits and minor revisions. Improved OTA syncing since the initial releases also makes sharing and uploading new versions to your remote hosting much simpler, particularly for MobileMe subscribers.

Numbers is slightly more fiddly, as the manipulation of on-screen elements plays a bigger role in use. It’s really not so bad though, occasionally a deep breath is needed, but it’s intuitive enough to make up for this minor shortcoming. It’s the least used of the two apps for me, and for the few times I’ll have cause to use it I can put up with the occasional awkward adjustment to  a table.

I have no use for Keynote, so have not made the purchase. I’d be interested to hear if anyone has had success using it and for what purpose.

* Metaphorically… my fingers aren’t grubby, honestly.

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