Apple introduces real time, cross-platform iWork collaboration

Posted:
in Mac Software edited September 2016
Apple on Wednesday announced a new iWork feature that allows both Mac and iOS users to collaborate on a variety of Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents in real time.




Announced and demonstrated onstage at today's special event by Apple VP of Product Marketing Susan Prescott, the iWork collaboration feature is available for iPhones, iPads and Macs. Users running Windows can also work with colleagues via a web interface.

In practice, iWork syncs document changes across devices which, depending on whether collaboration mode is set to public or private, show up on another user's screen. Collaborators can easily distinguish who is modifying a spreadsheet, word processing file or presentation, as user input is displayed in different colors.

The addition arrives as a competitor to existing productivity software suites including the web-based Google Docs and Microsoft's Office 365, both of which have boasted collaboration features for years. Apple, late to the game, is pushing the education angle, touting use case scenarios like teacher-to-student and student-to-student collaboration.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    Trying to catch up with (gasp!) Microsoft? And it looks like cross-platform means different things to different companies... Oh yeah, posted from my iMac.
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 2 of 16
    roakeroake Posts: 610member
    I used Pages a ton.  I'm happy to see the continued major updates.
    lolliverSpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 16
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,736member
    roake said:
    I used Pages a ton.  I'm happy to see the continued major updates.
    I agree and do too, I just wish Pages when in page layout mode (rather than wp mode) had all the same features iWeb used to have.  I'm not meaning HTML support just the design features.
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 4 of 16
    This is incredibly and indispensably awesome for a lot of people who need this in corporations and schools.
    No need to work separately and then merge.  You can do it all live and in real time.

    With excellent web support, this can be done using any platform with a modern web browser. (Windows, Linux, AIX, Solaris, Chrome book, Mac OS, iOS, Android etc...)
    This greatly raises the bar for free iWorks in the corporate world and schools on most platforms and in most languages.
    edited September 2016 lolliverSpamSandwichkevin kee
  • Reply 5 of 16
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,628member
    This is pretty cool - wish I had a need for it.  Word/page processors have always intrigued me, but I never once had a job that demanded their use on anything but an irregular basis.  Seems to me, email has pretty much negated the need for dedicated writing programs for most people.
  • Reply 6 of 16
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,351member
    It'd be nice if they put facing pages back in. Folk need that for writing books.
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 7 of 16
    croprcropr Posts: 853member
    This is incredibly and indispensably awesome for a lot of people who need this in corporations and schools.
    No need to work separately and then merge.  You can do it all live and in real time.

    With excellent web support, this can be done using any platform with a modern web browser. (Windows, Linux, AIX, Solaris, Chrome book, Mac OS, iOS, Android etc...)
    This greatly raises the bar for free iWorks in the corporate world and schools on most platforms and in most languages.
    As long as Numbers remains such a weak program, with a very limited feature set, iWorks won't make it in the corporate world
    singularity
  • Reply 8 of 16
    And businesses still need mail merge from Contacts, where the information is in Contacts on their machine or (better yet) Contacts in iCloud.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    That should read 'whether the information...'
  • Reply 10 of 16
    good- really about time. this is where apple needs to catch up. actually, this is where they should be also out-innovating everyone else.

    and I still cannot get side by side working with two pages documents (split view not available)
    xzu
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Flame Me Crazy, but a browse through Support and Reviews on Apple's content creation apps is downright embarrassing.  FCP, iWork (especially Keynote), iMovie, as well as Logic X are week.  It's all weak.  They should all be as far ahead of the respective competition as MacOS and iOS are.  

    I understand that content consumption is more important to Apple's revenue, but it's not cool to scrimp. For you doubters, as if it matters much, I produce 4K video, record music (album at iTunes), write books (book at iBooks) and produce about 2000 pages of detailed documentation for my medical practice each year.  I've tried to use iWork and FCP and they just don't measure up to the competition.  

    I'd love to see strides in this area.
  • Reply 12 of 16
    This is incredibly and indispensably awesome for a lot of people who need this in corporations and schools.
    No need to work separately and then merge.  You can do it all live and in real time.
    I haven't had time to watch the intro, but I have to tell you most schools are using Google Apps and maybe a few Office 365.

    Another suite to support doesn't have me too excited. And speaking frankly, Apple totally botched their file formats for iWork in '13. Maybe though it will be nice to collaborate on a full-featured Keynote.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't collaboration between the desktop and iOS versions a big deal shortly after the updated iOS apps were released 2-3 years ago?

    I distinctly remember a keynote where someone was working on a document (Pages maybe?) and the updates appeared on a second screen. How is this different from what was shown then?

    All this time and this is the only update?
  • Reply 14 of 16
    I'm definitely not going to suggest that Apple was first here, but it was no where near as far behind as being painted (clearly by people who have never used this suite of apps.)

    Let's be clear: Pages, Numbers and Keynote already support collaborative editing. The difference announced today is the word "real time".

    Previous collaborative modes, while functional, weren't ideal: Apple's own help pages advised methods to get the best performance and refreshes (such as the document owner using the app while the others used the web interface.)

    What has changed now is that anyone can use either the web or the app, on any of their preferred devices and still maintain a real time editing environment - it is a big deal, and anyone who has used Office 365 or Google Apps for Work know that "real time" is often over sold and rarely, truly delivered.

    The proof will be in the performance, I'm not willing to believe that Apple would falsely claim "real time", especially when they've had collaborative features for years.
    pscooter63razorpit
  • Reply 15 of 16
    Thank you for the clarification. I use Pages and Numbers daily, problem is I don't have any one to collaborate with. Everyone else in our office is on Office. I hope this will convert some users but I'm not holding my breath.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,569member
    Will anyone even use this?

    My normal working day is a very collaboriative team effort, and part of that is producing documents upon documents, but this kind of direct stepping on people's toes just seems ripe for annoyance and frustration.  Even if it works, it's easier to silo things off for better productivity, and collaborate to review outputs.

    If you want actual real-time collaboration, get everyone in the same room.
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