Apple Updates iWork Apps as the Productivity App Wars Continue

Everybody wants your data. Apple, Microsoft, Google each have competing Apps for you to create and edit documents and they all want those documents stored in their respective clouds. Last week, Microsoft finally released a version of its Office Apps for the iPad. Those Apps (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) are free to download, but to create documents you have to have an Office 365 subscription. Last fall Apple made its iWork suite of Apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) free for the taking and you don’t need any subscription to create documents and store them. (Unless you run out of the free starter amount of storage on iCloud.) Today Apple released an update to those Apps for iOS, the Mac, and the iCloud version on the web.

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The most significant aspect of this update is that Apple is adding back features that it stripped out of the iWork Apps when the new versions were made free last fall. Apple essentially started over from scratch and wanted to create Apps that worked well together on all of its platforms, including the web. That’s a long term bet, but it angered a number of Mac iWork users when they lost features to make the web and iOS versions compatible. Slowly but surely, Apple is adding some of those features back on the Mac side of things, as well as adding new features.

For iOS users, Apple had an edge for quite some time while Microsoft inexplicably delayed bringing versions of its productivity Apps to the iPad. Pages, Numbers, and Keynote invariably ranked in the top of the charts in the App store even when they cost $9.99 a piece. Now with the release of the iPad versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, we see those Microsoft Apps topping those same charts. Of course it could be argued that the jury is still out given the newness of the Microsoft Apps, but then again, Microsoft Office users dominate the world when it comes to productivity software. Who wins in the end may be a fool’s errand to try and guess, but in the long term, it is all about which users are using which cloud that really matters.

Keep in mind that many expect Microsoft to make some sort of announcement at the Build Conference this week regarding Microsoft Office software for touch users. Those interested in the long game will be very interested to see how compatible any new versions of the Office suite of Apps are between platforms such as iOS and Windows 8.1, and a promised for the future Android version. Apple may be working to keep compatibility among its productivity Apps consistent, but those Apps only work on iOS, Mac OS X and in the web versions.

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Pages for iOS

Word processing

  • View character count with or without spaces
  • Start a list automatically using new special characters
  • New Arabic and Hebrew templates
  • Word count for Hebrew
  • Improved support for bidirectional text
  • Create charts with date, time, and duration values

Design tools

  • Vertical ruler
  • Customizable alignment guides
  • Delete sections from the page navigator
  • Better placement of inserted and pasted objects
  • Inline images and shapes in table cells are preserved on import
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels

Sharing

  • New “view only” setting lets you share documents you want others to view but not edit
  • Share password-protected documents via iCloud link
  • Improved ePub export

Microsoft Word compatibility

  • Export password-protected documents to DOCX format
  • Custom number formats in charts are preserved on import of Pages ’09 and Microsoft Word documents
  • Improved compatibility with Microsoft Word 2013 documents

Usability and performance

  • Search documents by name

Pages for Mac

Word processing

  • Improved EndNote support, including citations in footnotes
  • View character count with or without spaces
  • Copy-paste style improvements
  • Start a list automatically using new special characters
  • New Arabic and Hebrew templates
  • Improved support for bidirectional text
  • Word count for Hebrew

Design tools

  • Center and edge guides are on by default
  • Delete, duplicate, and reorder sections using the page navigator
  • Inline images and shapes in table cells are preserved on import
  • Show rulers as a percentage of document size
  • Improved Instant Alpha image editing
  • Media Browser improvements, including search
  • Create charts with date, time, and duration values
  • Create custom data formats
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels

Sharing

  • New “view only” setting lets you share documents you want others to view but not edit
  • Share password-protected documents via iCloud link
  • Improved ePub export

Microsoft Word compatibility

  • Improved compatibility with Microsoft Word 2013 documents
  • Export password-protected documents to DOCX format
  • Custom number formats in charts are preserved on import of Pages ’09 and Microsoft Word documents

Usability and performance

  • Customize the toolbar with your most important tools
  • Better placement of inserted and pasted objects
  • Improved text box behavior
  • Improved AppleScript support

Pages for iCloud

Sharing

  • New “view only” setting lets you share documents you want others to view but not edit
  • View a list of documents others have shared with you in the document manager
  • Add passwords and share password-protected documents
  • Print your documents directly from the Tools menu

Collaboration

  • View the list of collaborators currently in a document
  • See cursors and selections for everyone in a document
  • Jump to a collaborator’s cursor by clicking the name in the collaborator list
  • Watch images and shapes animate as your collaborators move them around

Editing

  • New templates
  • Insert, edit, and format floating tables
  • Add style to anchored and inline images, shapes, and text boxes
  • Keyboard shortcuts for precise rotating, resizing, and repositioning of objects
  • Improved text wrap options
  • Edit endnotes in imported documents
  • Edit chart data in imported documents
  • Preserve images and shapes in table cells on import

Microsoft Word compatibility

  • Open password-protected Pages ’09 and Microsoft Word documents

Accessibility

  • Improved VoiceOver support for body text and document manager

Usability improvements

  • All-new design
  • Folders
  • Support for Retina display
  • Open documents directly from iCloud Mail

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Numbers for iOS

Charting

  • Chart date and duration values
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels
  • Custom number formats in charts are preserved on import of Numbers ’09 and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets

Sharing

  • New “view only” setting lets you share spreadsheets you want others to view but not edit
  • Share password-protected spreadsheets via iCloud link

Microsoft Excel compatibility

  • Export password-protected spreadsheets to XLSX format
  • Improved compatibility with Microsoft Excel 2013 spreadsheets

Usability and performance

  • Edit spreadsheets in landscape orientation on iPhone and iPod touch
  • Search spreadsheets by name
  • Faster CSV import
  • Progress indicator for calculations

Numbers for Mac

Working with data

  • Sort by multiple columns
  • Sort a subset of rows
  • Create custom data formats
  • Press the Option key to highlight rows and columns on mouseover
  • Drag and drop a CSV file right onto a sheet
  • Automatically update an existing table by dragging in a CSV file

Charting

  • Chart date and duration values
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels
  • Custom number formats in charts are preserved on import of Numbers ’09 and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets

Design tools

  • Customize the toolbar with your most important tools
  • Create custom table styles
  • Improved Instant Alpha image editing
  • Media Browser improvements, including search

Sharing

  • New “view only” setting lets you share spreadsheets you want others to view but not edit
  • Share password-protected spreadsheets via iCloud link

Printing

  • Set page margins
  • Create headers and footers
  • Page numbering options
  • Page ordering options
  • Change the zoom level during preview

Microsoft Excel compatibility

  • Export password-protected spreadsheets to XLSX format
  • Improved compatibility with Microsoft Excel 2013 spreadsheets
  • Headers and footers in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets are preserved on import

Usability and performance

  • Text autocompletes when editing cells
  • Improved text box behavior
  • Window size and placement preserved on Save
  • Set default zoom in Preferences
  • AppleScript support
  • Progress indicator for calculations
  • Cell-based import feedback

Numbers for iCloud

Sharing

  • New “view only” setting lets you share spreadsheets you want others to view but not edit
  • View a list of spreadsheets others have shared with you in the document manager
  • Share password-protected spreadsheets
  • Print your spreadsheets directly from the Tools menu

Collaboration

  • View the list of collaborators currently in a spreadsheet
  • See cursors and selections for everyone in a spreadsheet
  • Jump to a collaborator’s cursor by clicking the name in the collaborator list
  • Jump to a collaborator’s sheet selection
  • Watch images and shapes animate as your collaborators move them around

Working with data

  • Flow text into adjacent cells
  • Keyboard shortcuts for precise rotating, resizing, and repositioning of objects
  • Create links using the HYPERLINK function
  • Conditional highlighting rules are preserved on import
  • Custom data formats are preserved on import
  • Pop-up menus are preserved on import

Design tools

  • Apply rich formatting to text in table cells

Microsoft Excel compatibility

  • Open password-protected Numbers ’09 and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets

Accessibility

  • Improved VoiceOver support for document manager

Usability and performance

  • All-new design
  • Use folders to organize your spreadsheets
  • Drag and drop to reorder sheets
  • Open spreadsheets directly from iCloud Mail
  • Improved CSV import
  • Support for Retina display

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Keynote for iOS

Design tools

  • New build animations including Blinds, Fly In, Fly Out, Orbital, Pivot, Scale Big, Swoosh, Droplet, Grid, Drift, Scale, and Skid
  • New transitions including Blinds, Color Planes, Confetti, Fall, Perspective, Pivot, Swoosh, and Object Revolve

Charting

  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels

Editing

  • Improved bidirectional support: switch direction from menu for text, lists, and tables
  • Detailed presentation import feedback
  • Images and shapes in table cells are preserved on import

Sharing

  • Share password-protected presentations via iCloud link

Microsoft PowerPoint compatibility

  • Export to PPTX format

Usability and performance

  • Highlighter – Use your finger to illustrate slides as you present
  • Keynote Remote functionality integrated directly into Keynote app
  • Enhanced presenter display options
  • Improved animation performance
  • Search presentations by name
  • Usability improvements

Keynote for Mac

Editing

  • Improved Instant Alpha image editing
  • Show origin at center of rulers
  • Show rulers as a percentage of document size
  • Improved Media Browser
  • Improved text box behavior
  • Detailed presentation import feedback
  • Directly specify start and end points of movies
  • Images and shapes in table cells are preserved on import
  • Improved bidirectional support: switch direction from menu for text, lists, and tables

Charting

  • Create custom data formats
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels

Design tools

  • New build animations including Blinds, Fly In, Fly Out, Orbital, Pivot, Scale Big, Swoosh, Droplet, Grid, Drift, Scale, and Skid
  • New transitions including Blinds, Color Planes, Confetti, Fall, Perspective, Pivot, Swoosh, and Object Revolve
  • Apply motion blur to animations
  • Improved Magic Move including text morphing
  • Allow objects on slide to layer with master
  • Support for animated GIFs

Sharing

  • Share password-protected presentations via iCloud link

Microsoft PowerPoint compatibility

  • Export to PPTX format

Usability and performance

  • Customize the toolbar with your most important tools
  • Enhanced presenter display options and new layouts
  • Improved animation performance
  • Usability improvements
  • Improvements to AppleScript functionality

Keynote for iCloud

Sharing

  • New “view only” setting lets you share presentations you want others to view but not edit
  • View a list of presentations others have shared with you in the document manager
  • Print your presentations directly from the Tools menu
  • Share password-protected presentations via iCloud link
  • Open attachments directly from iCloud Mail

Collaboration

  • View the list of collaborators currently in a presentation
  • See cursors and selections for everyone in a presentation
  • Jump to a collaborator’s cursor by clicking the name in the collaborator list
  • Watch images and shapes animate as your collaborators move them around
  • Jump to a collaborator’s slide selection

Charting

  • Update charts using the chart data editor

Microsoft PowerPoint compatibility

  • Export to PPTX format
  • Open password-protected Keynote ’09 and Microsoft PowerPoint documents

Usability and performance

  • All-new design
  • Improvements to accessibility
  • Improved support for Retina display
  

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