Apple is doing some very clever things with the iPad’s portrait (taller than wide) and landscape (wider than tall) viewing modes. I was a bit confused when I started up Apple’s Pages word processing app for the first time on my iPad. You can see the screen I was greeted with above. It is a very spare almost featureless window. Where are the menus, options, and setings? That’s what I asked myself after looking at this for a few seconds. This confusion, it turns out, happened because I started pages in landscape viewing mode out of years (decades) of looking at word processing apps in that screen orientation (I never had a swivel display on my desktop).
If I had started it up Pages in Portrait mode first, I would have seen the window above with a somewhat traditional menu bar near the top of the screen. Fortunately, I turned the iPad’s orientation while wondering about the near featureless landscape view.
Pages’ spare landscape view is, of course, nearly perfect for heavy writing sessions. It maximizes screen space for text and removes the distraction of words and buttons in the menu bar. I noticed a couple of other apps that use screen orientation to provide completely different usage experience. This will probably become the norm soon. Within a few weeks, people will wonder why this “tip” was even worth noting 🙂