I Tried Doing Work In Apple's New Spreadsheet App And It Was Awful

Apple announced major updates to the Mac version of its iWork productivity suite at its October 22 event for the iPad in addition to the tablet versions remade for iOS 7.

While there’s been quite a bit of backlash about the features taken out of its desktop apps, I haven’t read much about the new iPad or iCloud versions of the suite.

When a friend asked me to crunch some data for him, I knew I had a perfect opportunity to put Numbers, iWork’s equivalent to Microsoft Excel, through its paces on the iPad and in the browser.

It didn’t go well.

The data I'm working with are Twitter metrics from a friend's startup.

The comma-separated values file loaded fine in Numbers on the iPad, though it would be nice if the columns were a bit wider by default.

I tap the button that looks like it might let me add a chart. It gives me a pretty wide range chart types to work with. I pick a simple scatter plot so I can easily see what I'm working with.

That big button sure makes it easier to see what I should do next.

The directions make it seem simple enough.

Wait, I may have spoken too soon. I clicked the 'retweet' column, but nothing happened.

OK, so if you tap *above* a column, it selects it entirely. Good to know.

I delete the chart and tap above the 'retweet' column again. This time, I tap on the 'Create Chart' option.

Well, that was useless.

I try to add the time of each tweet with the 'Edit References' option, but I can't find a way to say which column goes to which axis -- it seems to assign it based on the order you select them.

So I delete the chart and select them in the proper order: creating the chart with the times first, then adding in the retweet count. I scroll all the way down to the bottom to make sure that all of the tweets are accounted for.

Now we're getting somewhere. However, I *really* don't want to do any more work on this chart on the iPad, so I switch over to Numbers for iCloud.

The formatting is a bit jumbled at first glance. Oh well, at least I've gained more screen real estate and the precision of a mouse.

I click on the chart and... oh. That's not good. 'Chart editing is coming soon.'

I click on the 'Help' button within the Tools menu. Browsing around, I find that Numbers for iCloud doesn't even support editing charts.

Lesson learned: those interested in doing some real number crunching are better off going with the native Mac version of Numbers. While the iPad version has a decent number of features, it's not even close to being intuitive. The version for iCloud barely has enough features to be considered a Beta release.

See where else Apple isn't up to snuff...

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