I finally had an opportunity to use iWork yesterday and what a surprise Apple updated its iWork for iCloud services with several features and a new look that reminds me of iOS 7. The new features are centered around a bunch of new collaboration tools that aims to make it a good alternative to Google Docs.
Numbers, Keynote and Pages in iCloud were all updated and you can see the new stuff now at iCloud.com; make sure you have an account :). The full list of changes differs slightly for each product, but I notice all the changes are the same in each application. The collaboration features include a list that shows who’s editing the document currently. That list can be used to navigate to the portion of a document that they’re editing by clicking on their name [the person who needs to edit the document does not need to have an iCloud account to edit]. You can also see some of the editing capabilities like moving images or reformatting happening live as the collaborators do it [cool feature if you are far away doing a meeting and need to work on a document with your colleagues]
Here’s the full list of changes from Apple:
Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for iCloud beta:
- Collaborator list: View the list of collaborators currently in a document.
- Collaborator cursor: See cursors and selections for everyone in a document.
- Jump to collaborator: Instantly jump to a collaborator’s cursor by clicking their name in the collaborator list.
- Collaboration animation: Watch images and shapes animate as your collaborators move them around.
- Printing: Print your documents directly from the Tools menu.
- Folders: Organize your documents in folders.
Numbers for iCloud beta:
- Reorder sheets: Change the order of the sheets in your spreadsheet, right in your browser.
- Links: Create links using the HYPERLINK function.
Keynote for iCloud beta:
- Skip slides: Right-click any slide in the navigator to skip it during playback.
Overall the new features are pretty cool making it hard to stay with Google Docs. I guess I would need to play it by ear and see how much more I will be using iWork within iCloud. The only reason I’m using it because I have a user in the office that is a MAC user and I have to support him :). That means I will be using it more!
I did noticed many forums mentioning an issue with opening a document in the new iWork for iCloud, you may end up seeing a message notifying you that your file will be converted. You’re given the option to copy your document or open and convert the original. If you do so, Apple notes, you may lose some bits that aren’t compatible with the new format.