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First look: iWork for iCloud beta brings powerful productivity to the Web

post #1 of 65
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Apple revealed at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday that it will be releasing a new version of iWork for iCloud, enabling remote access to the productivity suite with nearly full functionality offered in a Web client.

iMacs


Announced earlier this week during the WWDC keynote, iWork for iCloud is now available for developers. In an exploration of the beta, AppleInsider found that its overall function was very smooth, with quick loading times and no hiccups or bumps in its animation or responsiveness.

iMacs


As Apple showed off in the iWork for iCloud demo, users have the ability to directly import MS Word files into the browser-based productivity suite. Apple's demonstration went off without any snags, and our experience was much the same. We imported an MS Word template from Office 365 and experienced no issues in the transition to Pages. There were also no problems in typing out a document in iWork for iCloud and moving it over to the OS X Pages app.

iMacs


Keynote is a favorite around here, and we were pleased to see that Apple is adding new features to Keynote in iCloud. Typically, text can't be rotated in the desktop version of Keynote, but we've found that the iCloud version allows it. It's not clear how the resulting slide will translate back to the desktop or over to iOS, but we're hoping the feature trickles down from the web to the other platforms.

iMacs


In Numbers, when a spreadsheet with forms, those forms are hidden. Users can, though, edit a table linked to a form, and those edits appear in the form when the spreadsheet is reopened in Numbers for iOS. In the Numbers for iCloud beta, deleting a table linked to a form clears the form. It appears Apple still has some work to do on this aspect of the software ? thus the "beta" label ? since it can be difficult to tell at times which actions will actually delete or clear a form.

iMacs


We did have at least one issue that slowed us down in dealing with the beta: keyboard shortcuts, or more specifically the lack thereof. In the desktop version of iWork, creating a new document is as easy as Command-Shift-N. In iWork for iCloud, though, one must mouse over to the lower left and click for a new slide, which tended to take us out of a well-practiced workflow.

iMacs


In all, though, we'd have to say that this is the best web productivity tool we've used to date. It exhibits the same level of care and ease of use seen in Apple's other products. We're very interested to see what shape iWork for iCloud takes when it finally comes out of beta.

iMacs
post #2 of 65
yawn
post #3 of 65

It's really weird to me that this is just being talked about now. I've had access for the past 2 days on it and it's worked terrifically.

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post #4 of 65
That sounds all great and a fantastic addition. I'm very much looking forward to it.
Funny though that Apple still uses skeuomorphics in OS X and iCloud
post #5 of 65
The crowd was certainly blown away at WWDC.

/s

I was impressed though.
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post #6 of 65
It would be nice if somebody would report who this is going to be available to and the associated cost.
post #7 of 65
Um maybe a new local version since iWork '09 would be good first!?!

Or at least stop calling them Pages '09 etc. on Mac App Store and do real updates.

Same applies to iLife, but at least that was '11.

For anyone with a Mac & has bought iWork or the individual apps they use In The Last Four Years, this is next to useless.

Great for windows & linux people, obviously, and a great tech demo, but but since when do Apple care more about them than Apple users?

Get iTunes online (at least for streaming purchases & radio, perhaps make Match free) and drastically cut down windows client to a basic backup app and then we're talking useful for all parties. And all Parties.
post #8 of 65

I have never had any problem rotating text in Keynote. It can easily be done visually or by number. I don't know why you've had problems getting it to do so.

post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

The crowd was certainly blown away at WWDC.

/s

I was impressed though.

 

Yes, it was the dullest presentation, but it's important for Apple going forward.

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #10 of 65

Not exactly clear which developer program has access to the beta. Is it the iOS or Mac developer program? I seriously wish Apple just combined the two.

post #11 of 65

Does it work offline? And no, having the desktop versions installed doesn't count.

 

-kpluck

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post #12 of 65

Does it work offline, or without using compromised, government-visible cloud storage?

 

You know... basically is it worth a damn?

post #13 of 65
I think Apple should open these programs up to everyone, not just owners of Apple devices. It's the only way this suite will blunt the advance of Google Docs. You can't do group collaboration if it's "for Apple people only" and that's one of the big benefits of having packages like this on the web. It's so incredibly handy to be able to make a Google document and share it around saying "OK everybody enter your information."
post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

The crowd was certainly blown away at WWDC.

/s

I was impressed though.

 

I think they were probably feeling like I was - meh, another web-based suite. I've used Google Docs before, and while the collaboration and sharing is good the actual functionality isn't (I find many things missing and it's not as responsive as I'd like). So I just assumed this would be more of the same, or maybe even worse since it's their first crack.

 

After seeing AI's first look I'm going to try it out. It appears to be better than I thought and that's good news.

post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

Does it work offline, or without using compromised, government-visible cloud storage?

You know... basically is it worth a damn?

Short answer - no.

Since iCloud exists for Apple hardware users only, surely this just undercuts existing iWork apps or replicates their functionality if... what, users want to use their PC instead?
post #16 of 65
I don't want to do my work in a web browser. January will be 5 years since the current version of iWork was released.
post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

Does it work offline? And no, having the desktop versions installed doesn't count.

Just buy the desktop version. Why would you want something that could crash and lose all your work?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

You know... basically is it worth a damn?

Any government "worth a damn" can not only spring for the ludicrously expensive desktop version, they would prefer it to this without question.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimmyDax View Post

Since iCloud exists for Apple hardware users only...

Uh... Total lies, by the way.
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Since iCloud exists for Apple hardware users only...
Uh... Total lies, by the way.

 

Not lies. Go try to set up an iCloud account yourself. You need an Apple device in order to set it up. From the instructions in your link "To enable iCloud on your Windows PC, first set up iCloud on your other devices, then install the iCloud Control Panel for Windows" In other words, you need to have at least an iPod Touch in order to set up an iCloud account and use iWork. This is a mistake IMO.
 

post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimmyDax View Post

Um maybe a new local version since iWork '09 would be good first!?!

Or at least stop calling them Pages '09 etc. on Mac App Store and do real updates.

Same applies to iLife, but at least that was '11.

For anyone with a Mac & has bought iWork or the individual apps they use In The Last Four Years, this is next to useless.

Great for windows & linux people, obviously, and a great tech demo, but but since when do Apple care more about them than Apple users?

Get iTunes online (at least for streaming purchases & radio, perhaps make Match free) and drastically cut down windows client to a basic backup app and then we're talking useful for all parties. And all Parties.

I doubt there will be a regular version of iWork. What you see, is the new iWork. Why put all the effort into making 2 different versions?

Question for me is...is this free for iCloud users?

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post #20 of 65
Can someone explain me how this would be useful? I can see how improved iCloud version control between OSX and iOS would be helpful, but why work on files via browser?

Native versions are so inexpensive, why would someone need to use a browser? I can see how Google Apps in the cloud are good to share a document between users but the demo focused on a user using the browser to work on their file. Can't see why.
post #21 of 65
I don't know. Speaking as a former Tier II Technical Support Technician that once supported Office 365, this look like this would kick the daylights out of O365 and Google Drive, apps-wise. I'm curious though as to how many features 'mad it' to iWork for iCloud vs the Desktop version and vs the iOS version. I'm assuming that collaboration is going to be fairly good.
post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Yes, it was the dullest presentation, but it's important for Apple going forward.

They can only do much to liven up an office suite presentation. You can only say "super fast", "super smooth" and "super cool" so many times and they didn't want to waste those phrases on a set of office programs.
post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by graxspoo View Post

I think Apple should open these programs up to everyone, not just owners of Apple devices. It's the only way this suite will blunt the advance of Google Docs. You can't do group collaboration if it's "for Apple people only" and that's one of the big benefits of having packages like this on the web. It's so incredibly handy to be able to make a Google document and share it around saying "OK everybody enter your information."

I think this is their way of opening it up to all platforms. Isn't that why it is used via browser?
post #24 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSteelers View Post


I think this is their way of opening it up to all platforms. Isn't that why it is used via browser?

 

Yes, they have opened it up to all platforms, but you still need an iCloud account to use iWork, and you need to own at least one Apple device in order to open an iCloud account. In other words, as an owner of Apple devices, I can now edit my documents on any computer that has access to the internet, and I can also collaborate on documents with other Apple device owners who also have iCloud accounts. Still, this is a long way from Google Docs where all you need to do is a gmail address.
 

post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhart376 View Post

Can someone explain me how this would be useful? I can see how improved iCloud version control between OSX and iOS would be helpful, but why work on files via browser?

Native versions are so inexpensive, why would someone need to use a browser? I can see how Google Apps in the cloud are good to share a document between users but the demo focused on a user using the browser to work on their file. Can't see why.

 

It could be really handy for editing your documents anywhere. For example, you were working on a layout, but are on vacation without your laptop when inspiration strikes. You can go to an internet cafe or a friends house (who doesn't have a mac) and do some editing. It could also be useful for PC users who own iPads or iPhones, but do not own Macs. They can now seamlessly use iWork between their PC and their Apple devices.

 

However, I don't think this will really come into its own until anyone can sign up for an iCloud account regardless of whether they own Apple stuff. If Apple did that, suddenly iWork would be on-par in terms of group-collaboration, with Google Docs. It's so nice when collaborating to not have to worry about whether or not people have some bit of software installed. Everyone has a browser, so everyone has access to the content. Brilliant. Sadly, it looks like Apple is not going to go quite this far just yet.

post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

I don't want to do my work in a web browser. January will be 5 years since the current version of iWork was released.

So what? There is no need for a new version for the sake of a new version.
Unless you want Apple to emulate the M$ feature creep bloatware approach to software engineering, then once the relevant functionality of a (word processor/spreadsheet/presentation) software is implemented it's the end if the line except for minor GUI tweaks and bug fixes until such time that things are ready for a major paradigm shift.
If you can propose such a major shift for these basic productivity software categories, you should start your own software company and someone is certain to buy you out to get their paws on the corresponding patents; if not, then there's no reason to complain about old versions.

I mean how often is any basic software tool upgraded? It's a sign of consumers having their mind trapped by the mindset produced by the ad industry when they clamor for new major versions without having a significant reason in fact to want such a thing.
No, iWork isn't perfect, but what I miss are minor features (e.g. locked cells) or major paradigm shifts that have proven to go over the heads of most users (improv/quantrix-like multi-dimensional spreadsheets).
The latter aren't iWorks target audience, and the former need no major new versions.
post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by graxspoo View Post

 

Yes, they have opened it up to all platforms, but you still need an iCloud account to use iWork, and you need to own at least one Apple device in order to open an iCloud account. In other words, as an owner of Apple devices, I can now edit my documents on any computer that has access to the internet, and I can also collaborate on documents with other Apple device owners who also have iCloud accounts. Still, this is a long way from Google Docs where all you need to do is a gmail address.
 

 

So? What's your point?

post #28 of 65
This was the most surprising product announcement, and probably a huge opportunity vs Microsoft's overpriced Office 360 transition. Non-business users will balk at the high monthly fee of Microsoft and look for a cheaper (almost) fully featured alternative
post #29 of 65

I was a little surprised that Maps didn't make it into the iCloud suite of apps this time around.

 

I think it's great that it'll be available as a Mac app, but, if there's one app that ought to be available through iCloud, it's definitely Maps.

post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

I was a little surprised that Maps didn't make it into the iCloud suite of apps this time around.

I think it's great that it'll be available as a Mac app, but, if there's one app that ought to be available through iCloud, it's definitely Maps.

Particularly with how awesome it looks.

Zoom out far enough with the satellite data turned on, and you get a live look at the day/night cycle.
post #31 of 65

Two things:

 

1) the article would be a lot better if it compared iWork in the cloud to iWork on the desktop and iWork on iOS.  For instance Pages on iOS doesn't support all the features of Pages on the desktop.  Does this support a set of features more similar to the desktop version?  Or the iOS version?  This article just basically apes all the Apple advertising about iWork and lists a few basic features.  It's not really helpful in terms of evaluating it as a product. 

 

2) Interesting that we have yet another, different example of the "share" button.  I'm starting to wonder which version will eventually win out. (hoping it's not the ugly Windows 8 looking one)  

post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by graxspoo View Post

 

Yes, they have opened it up to all platforms, but you still need an iCloud account to use iWork, and you need to own at least one Apple device in order to open an iCloud account. In other words, as an owner of Apple devices, I can now edit my documents on any computer that has access to the internet, and I can also collaborate on documents with other Apple device owners who also have iCloud accounts. Still, this is a long way from Google Docs where all you need to do is a gmail address.
 

 

Isn't this a bit of a silly thing to say?  

 

To use Google Docs "all you need is an email address." How is this substantially different from iCloud where "all you need is an Apple ID" (which is 99.9% of the time … an email address).  You're making a false distinction.  

 

Both  services are "sticky" to the point that Google will do every trick in the book to suck you into Google+ land, and Apple will try to get you to buy more of their stuff.  

They aren't the same, but they aren't that different either. 

post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhart376 View Post

Can someone explain me how this would be useful? ...

 

Apple will never say it, but this is basically "iWork for Windows" without having to support Windows.  That's really the point.   

post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

Does it work offline, or without using compromised, government-visible cloud storage?

 

You know... basically is it worth a damn?

 

For the record, Apple's iCloud is more secure and access to your files is less likely to be given to the government than Google's stuff.  But it's a very fine distinction, and when you live in a police state, you got to expect this sort of thing.  

post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by japm View Post

yawn

 

I don't see how the **** people like you don't get banned. The fact that you take the time to click on this article, type a one word response like that, and post is, is evidence enough for your intentions here- as are all your previous posts. Get a life. 

post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhart376 View Post

Can someone explain me how this would be useful? I can see how improved iCloud version control between OSX and iOS would be helpful, but why work on files via browser?

Native versions are so inexpensive, why would someone need to use a browser? I can see how Google Apps in the cloud are good to share a document between users but the demo focused on a user using the browser to work on their file. Can't see why.

 

Uh, when you need to create/edit/access your documents, and you don't happen to have a Mac? This adds more value to ANYONE who owns or uses iWork, as it makes the suite more flexible, more powerful, and more accessible, basically from any web browser. And you'll still have the offline app. 

post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

This was the most surprising product announcement, and probably a huge opportunity vs Microsoft's overpriced Office 360 transition. Non-business users will balk at the high monthly fee of Microsoft and look for a cheaper (almost) fully featured alternative

Yes Office 365 has a monthly subscription but the online Office apps are free to use by anyone with a Skydrive account. Online Office is pretty good but other sites like Thinkfree and Zoho offer better functionality and interface.
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post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Isn't this a bit of a silly thing to say?  

To use Google Docs "all you need is an email address." How is this substantially different from iCloud where "all you need is an Apple ID" (which is 99.9% of the time … an email address).  You're making a false distinction.  

Both  services are "sticky" to the point that Google will do every trick in the book to suck you into Google+ land, and Apple will try to get you to buy more of their stuff.  
They aren't the same, but they aren't that different either. 

They really are. A Google account does not require you to have bought Google hardware to set it up on. Google docs does not have native software versions on said hardware. How different could the situations be, and yet still be comparable.

This is only useful if you work or create on a PC, which is a damn shame for anyone with any Apple device.

If this takes over from a native version, it will be ridiculous. For starters, most of us have iWork already. I can't see any significant improvements over a native app. Other than perhaps price, which would be stupid.
post #39 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

The crowd was certainly blown away at WWDC.

/s

I was impressed though.

It's more of an 'end user' thing than a 'developer' thing, but they want the devs to test it.

 

The presentation wasn't the most exciting though, but it got the points across.

post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimmyDax View Post

Um maybe a new local version since iWork '09 would be good first!?!

 

It was announced in the keynote. New versions for Mac and iOS later this year.

JLL

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