October 25th, 2005 • 10:53 am
While it is true that Carbon applications form the bulk of this Anti-Aliasing Hall of Shame in Mac OS X, it doesn’t mean that all Cocoa applications are perfect. Cocoa applications don’t usually have the same problems as Carbon applications, but they can have problems of their own with anti-aliasing.
Apple’s Pages application is a prime example. It’s obviously an application that was built from the ground up for Mac OS X. Yet it suffers from a fundamental problem with font anti-aliasing that obviously only slipped through because of Apple’s own carelessness.
Take the following two screen shots:
They are two screen shots of the exact same text in a Word 2004 document with the exact same font (Times New Roman 11 pt) and zoom (150%) settings. The only difference is that the first one was with the “Font smoothing style” setting (in the “Appearance” preference pane in System Preferences) set to “Standard – best for CRT,” and the second one was with the “Font smoothing style” setting set to “Medium – best for Flat Panel.”
In other words, Word, for once, is a well-behaved Mac OS X citizen and uses the font smoothing style chosen by the user in System Preferences.
Now if you try the exact same thing in Pages, here’s what you get:
Can you see a difference between the two samples? You can’t, because there isn’t one. Regardless of what “Font smoothing style” setting is selected in the “Appearance” preference pane in System Preferences, Pages always uses the same font smoothing style, and, as far as I can tell, it is the standard “best for CRT” style.
There is no excuse for this. Apple makes both the OS and Pages. They, of all people, should comply with Mac OS X’s standards and respect the user’s preference.
I’ve reported this bug to Apple and they have acknowledged that it is a problem and said that they are “working on a solution,” but of course it could be months before a Pages update is released.
Even then, I won’t be surprised if you have to upgrade to Pages 2.0 (at a price) in order to get the fix. The Pages 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 updates that have been released so far did not fix this or indeed any other significant problem with Pages that I am aware of and have reported on in this blog (under the “Pages” category). If Apple really wants more people to embrace Pages as an alternative to Word or as a replacement for AppleWorks, they’d better start showing more commitment to the application soon.