I previously had posted on a rumor that I had heard that Corel would be releasing a version of WordPerfect for the iPad. My sources had indicated that WordPerfect for the iPad would be released at the end of March 2014 (the same day that Microsoft released Office for the iPad). Although WordPerfect was not released when I expected, it was finally released on April 8, 2014, along with the release of WordPerfect Office X7.
Unfortunately WordPerfect for the iPad cannot be described as a stand-alone application. In reality it is simply a virtualized version of WordPerfect X7. During inactivity, I discovered that Corel is offering their product using a virtual desktop on Microsoft Server 2012. If you have used OnLive Desktop or CloudOn to access Microsoft Office on the iPad, this “app” uses the same type of technology.
This means that you are using an actual full desktop version of WordPerfect on your iPad, and not an app that was created specifically for a touch-interface of the iPad. Although the positive side is that you get to use every feature of WordPerfect, and have 100% format compatibility, the app suffers greatly from usability issues. For example selecting menus sometimes took 3-4 tries with my average size hands, and clicking on the toolbar drop-down menus was nearly impossible without accidentally applying the wrong formatting.
To get to the numbered list options, you have to actually touch that tiny down arrow on the toolbar!
Additionally, the app will not work without an internet connection. According to the Apple App Store description:
“This virtualized desktop companion requires you to be connected to the Internet. During the trial period we recommend you connect to the internet through Wi-Fi for enhanced performance.”
The reason that Wi-Fi is recommended, is that performance can be an issue over a cellular connection, and you will be using your data allowance if you connect using cellular. This also means that if you do not have internet access, this app is useless, or even worse if you lose a connection while editing a document, you cannot continue to work and can possibly lose your work.
I wish I could say that the disappointment ended there. Since this is a virtualized desktop running WordPerfect, you cannot use the iPad’s “Open In” options to launch WordPerfect from an email or other app. This means that when I have a WordPerfect document as an attachment in email or saved on a cloud service, I was not able to launch that document using WordPerfect for the iPad.
Who am I giving access to my DropBox folders?
The only method that I could find to get documents into WordPerfect was to associate your DropBox account within the virtualized desktop environment. Since this would establish an instance of my DropBox running within a virtualized desktop on a server that I have no control over, I did not personally feel confident associating my DropBox account with this app. (Documents cannot even be side-loaded into the WordPerfect app using iTunes).
You are warned that this is a cloud-based app, and it will not even always be available.
WordPerfect X7 for the iPad is listed in the press release as being a free offering alongside the purchase of the new WordPerfect X7 Office suite, however, in the app store description, it is indicated that “Availability is limited”. This means that if you require use of the app, it is important that you download it immediately and register an account to use it. I am assuming that the reason that availability is limited is because a license must be purchased from Microsoft for every user (since it is running on Microsoft Server 2012). Although it is indicated that you must have WordPerfect X7 on your desktop to use this product, when you register to use the iPad app, you are not required to proof that you have a registered copy of WordPerfect Office X7 (this means that as of right now anyone can actually register an account and use this app).
I wish I could say that I recommend this app, but I simply cannot. It was actually painful to use it. None of the iPad keyboard shortcuts work on this app (like double-tapping the space bar for a period), and misspelled words are not auto-corrected. Selecting text was incredibly difficult and I was unable to finish a one page document without several disconnections and a timeout. Since I failed to save before one of the disconnections, I even experienced loss of my work. I also repeatedly noticed keyboard lag even on a high-speed WiFi connection.
I personally find this “app” an embarrassment to Corel. Considering that Microsoft took so long to develop and release Word for the iPad, Corel was given an ideal opportunity to actually become relevant again. Had Corel focused on making a true competitor for Pages and Word on the iPad, it is possible that they could have even converted desktop users by showing how good of a product they had. Instead, I think they have shown those remaining WordPerfect users, the time has finally come to abandon this app.
For now, I recommend that most users consider Microsoft Word for the iPad, even if it does mean purchasing an Office 365 subscription. If you simply cannot justify a subscription to Office 365, Pages is a quality full-featured word processor, just be aware that there will be some compatibility issues if you use Microsoft Word on your desktop.
Download WordPerfect X7 Companion App for iPad.