Apple’s iWork for iCloud gives Mac and iOS users tools that challenge Google Drive and Microsoft Office apps. Users can create and edit documents and spread sheets with the ease of drag and drop functions over the Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer browsers. This beta version app for the web even works on Windows 8. The full service release is scheduled for the fall of 2013, while the beta version requires that users make local backups of their documents.
First major upgrade in 2 years
The new app marks the first major upgrade for iWork in two years, which quietly made its debut in 2005. One of the criticisms of iWork has been that it’s not really an online production tool with collaborative qualities, unlike Google Docs or Microsoft’s productivity apps. The new iWork for iCloud app’s main selling point seems to revolve around its compatibility with Windows 8. But it’s not clear yet how easy to use or reliable the full software suite will be and if it will allow collaboration.
Apple’s cloud network called iCloud is a free service for OS X and iOS users, although iWork is a bundled suite sold at a premium that includes the word processor called Pages, spreadsheet creator called Numbers and the presentation tool called Keynote. The services provided by iCloud include 5 GB of free storage, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Notes and Reminders. In other words, the online experience is free while the native apps cost money.
Microsoft’s new web features for Windows Office
Recently Microsoft announced its own new web features for Windows Office that allow collaboration functionality and compatibility with Android and iOS mobile devices. Technology has evolved so that the tablets can now use cell phone service if you are away from your fiber optic Ethernet services so that you can access the programs anywhere. At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference presentation in June they mentioned that there would be “awesome” updates for the iWork platform later in the year.
For now beta testers can experiment with making elegant documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Each of these simplified apps are fast with real time capabilities. Pages now has over 45 fonts while formatting has become almost instant. One of the most noticeable developments is that you can now drag images from your desktop into documents and presentations and then easily move the images around. You can also create borders, shadows and effects with more simplicity.
Keynote for iCloud has been improved to make slide shows easier to manage, with more control over transitions and effects. You will now be able to make transitions either automatic or manually controlled by a click. By previewing the slide deck, you will have better control over fine-tuning your slide shows. You will also be able to export your files in Microsoft Office formats.
NoteSuite is a new secure notekeeping app that will only work on OS X and iOS, but is effective for organizing notes. It’s a handy tool if you do a lot of online research. Existing notes can be attached to tasks. Since all your data is saved in the iCloud service, it does not require fees.
It’s a powerful task manager, especially for creating to-do lists mixed with maps and pictures. Taking notes can be done quickly without constantly resetting font styles, in which defaults can be customized. List making can also be done with ease while adding links to your task inbox. One of its unique qualities is that lists can be collapsed. Your notes can be filed in folders and be easily found with tags and a built in search tool.
Another advantage to the developing iCloud system is that you can save all your projects in iCloud. By accessing your online work from various devices such as Macs, PCs, iPhones and iPads, you will have a much more powerful and diverse cloud experience.