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

Posted:
in iCloud edited January 2014
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    japmjapm Posts: 36member
    yawn
  • Reply 2 of 64
    smiles77smiles77 Posts: 668member


    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.

  • Reply 3 of 64
    macapfelmacapfel Posts: 516member
    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
  • Reply 4 of 64
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    The crowd was certainly blown away at WWDC.

    /s

    I was impressed though.
  • Reply 5 of 64
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    It would be nice if somebody would report who this is going to be available to and the associated cost.
  • Reply 6 of 64
    timmydaxtimmydax Posts: 284member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 64
    don108don108 Posts: 79member


    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.

  • Reply 8 of 64
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,486member

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 64
    focherfocher Posts: 645member


    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.

  • Reply 10 of 64
    kpluckkpluck Posts: 500member


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


     


    -kpluck

  • Reply 11 of 64
    bwikbwik Posts: 562member


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


     


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

  • Reply 12 of 64
    graxspoograxspoo Posts: 162member
    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."
  • Reply 13 of 64

    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.

  • Reply 14 of 64
    timmydaxtimmydax Posts: 284member
    bwik wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 15 of 64
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 64
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    kpluck wrote: »
    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?
    bwik wrote: »
    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.
    timmydax wrote: »
    Since iCloud exists for Apple hardware users only...

    Uh... Total lies, by the way.
  • Reply 17 of 64
    graxspoograxspoo Posts: 162member

    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.

     

  • Reply 18 of 64
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,998member
    timmydax wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 19 of 64
    jhart376jhart376 Posts: 28member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 64
    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.
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