Erik Eckel takes a look at the beta offering of iWork Pages, Keynote, and Numbers for iCloud.
Business users are long accustomed to using Apple’s iWork productivity suite—Pages for word processing, Numbers for working with spreadsheets and Keynote for powering presentations—on their Macs, iPads and even iPhones. Following Apple’s introduction of iWork for iCloud, business users will also be able to create and edit Pages, Numbers, and Keynote files on the Web. Apple’s iWork for iCloud is now in beta testing, and the service is due for public deployment soon.
iWork for Windows
iWork for iCloud works with the Apple Safari (version 6.0.3 and later), Google Chrome (version 27.0.1 and later) and Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 9.0.8 and later) browsers. As such, iWork users will now be able to create and edit documents; build and edit spreadsheets; and create, edit, and view presentations using Windows.
Simple, easy-to-use interface
Apple’s made it easy by adding three simple icons to iCloud users' traditional half-dozen -icon console. Upon logging in to iCloud, in addition to the traditional Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Reminders and Find My iPhone icons, three new ones appear for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
Select an application, and its iCloud interface (similar to the view one receives when opening an iWork app on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad) appears within the browser. Files the user already created and stored in iCloud appear for access and editing, or the user can choose to create a new file using the application.
Using the Web-based iWork for iCloud interface, users can also choose to upload an existing file to iCloud. Users can also download a local copy of existing files and duplicate, delete, share or send files.
iWork for iCloud isn’t just a knee-jerk service expansion that coincidentally follows the release of Microsoft Office apps for iOS. In true Apple fashion, the iWork apps integrate seamlessly within an Apple business user’s larger world. Documents, spreadsheets, and presentations can now be created on one device (say a Mac), updated on another (an iPad, for example) and viewed, edited and shared using Windows. Adding Web-based capabilities, and expanding access to Windows users, means Apple business users no longer need be tethered to just their Apple technologies to leverage iWork apps and files. I, like many of the clients I support, use both technologies regularly throughout each business day. Since beginning beta testing a week ago, I’ve already found myself increasingly leveraging iWork while out in the field and back in my office.
While iWork for iCloud’s beta has limited features, and proved a little buggy (I was able to open password-protected files without having to enter a password), when the final product deploys, users will be able to send others links to files, track file version history, edit charts, edit tables, add notes within Keynote presentations and more. Even in beta, the product is working smoothly and boasts cross-platform compatibility. I was able to import Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations directly to iWork by simply dragging the files from my Windows desktop to the iWork for iCloud Web interface; iWork for iCloud effortlessly loaded and converted the files, although Keynote noted animations are not yet supported (the test presentation I loaded possessed no animations, however, and experienced no trouble).