Apple updates iWork for iOS, OS X and iCloud with enhanced usability, graphics tweaks

Apple on Tuesday released a series of updates to the iCloud versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, including new iOS and OS X app versions, as the company continues to refine its web-based productivity suite. On iCloud, all three applications gained new Retina display-ready graphical assets as well as the ability to open files directly from iCloud Mail. Additionally, users can now share documents with a ‘view only’ security setting.

Pages

Pages received a new document editor design, improved text wrap, and new document templates for iCloud. Users can also edit charts contained in imported documents. The view only option is also available on the iOS and Mac versions.

For iOS, Pages brings the following enhancements:

  • New “view only” setting lets you share documents you want others to view but not edit
  • Search documents by name
  • Inline images and shapes in table cells are preserved on import
  • Better placement of inserted and pasted objects
  • New Arabic and Hebrew templates
  • Improved support for bi-directional text
  • Word count for Hebrew
  • Improved ePub export
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels
  • Usability improvements

Pages for Mac was also updated on Tuesday and adds the following features to those seen above:

  • Delete, duplicate and reorder sections using the page navigator
  • Copy-paste style improvements
  • Improved Instant Alpha image editing
  • Media Browser improvements, including search
  • Improved AppleScript support
  • Create custom data formats
  • Show rulers as a percentage of document size
  • Improved text box behaviour
  • Improved EndNote support, including citations in footnotes
  • Improved ePub export

Pages is a free download from the iOS and Mac App Stores for new device owners.

Numbers

Apple’s Numbers (iOS, OS X)was was given a fresh coat of paint, with the Excel competitor gaining improved pop-up menu support for more complex spreadsheets.

In addition to the read-only feature introduced in PagesNumbers for iOS includes:

  • Search spreadsheets by name
  • Progress indicator for calculations
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels
  • Faster CSV import
  • Improved Microsoft Excel compatibility
  • Usability improvements

The Mac version includes the same improvements plus the following:

  • Set margins in print setup
  • Create headers and footers in print setup
  • New printing options: page numbering, page ordering and zoom
  • Create custom data formats
  • Create custom table styles
  • Drag and drop a CSV file directly into a sheet
  • Automatically update an existing table by dragging in a CSV file
  • Cell-based import feedback
  • Improved text box behaviour
  • Media Browser improvements, including search
  • Improved Instant Alpha image editing
  • Improved AppleScript support
  • Usability improvements

Numbers for iOS and OS X can be downloaded via the appropriate App Stores.

Keynote

Keynote (iOS, OS X) was not left off of the visual tweak train, with the new iCloud version bringing an updated presentation editor design. Like PagesKeynote users can also edit charts in imported documents.

For iOS:

  • Use your finger to illustrate on slides as you present
  • New “view only” setting lets you share presentations you want others to view but not edit
  • New portrait layout option in presenter display
  • Search presentations by name
  • New transitions and builds: Object Revolve, Drift and Scale, and Skid
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels
  • Export to PPTX format
  • Detailed presentation import feedback
  • Improved animation performance
  • Improved bi-directional support: switch direction for text, lists and tables
  • Usability improvements

The Mac version adds the following:

  • Improved Presenter Display layouts and labels
  • Improved Magic Move including text morphing
  • Apply motion blur to animations
  • Show rulers as a percentage of document size
  • Improved Instant Alpha image editing
  • Media Browser improvements, including search
  • Directly specify start and end points of movies
  • Create custom data formats
  • Export to PPTX format
  • Improved AppleScript support
  • Support for animated GIFs
  • Allow objects on slide to layer with master
  • Improved text box behaviour
  • Usability improvements

Keynote is available now in the iOS and Mac App Stores.

 

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Apple has posted a not yet fully functional login page for its new iCloud service, representing a revamped version of its existing Mail, Contacts, Calendar and Find My iPhone MobileMe apps as well as newly integrating the document sharing features of iWork.com.

Apple posts new iCloud login page as a revamped MobileMe, iWork.com

Apple posts new iCloud login page as a revamped MobileMe, iWork.com

The new iCloud login page, which appears as an Apple Store-like name tag on a lanyard, enables some users to log into functional apps. Other users are presented with an iOS-style popup asking them to migrate their data from MobileMe to iCloud, a feature which isn’t yet working.

Hope for mobile users

The iCloud login page is also available from mobile devices (below), suggesting that Apple will finally make its web-based apps accessible from iOS devices. MobileMe web apps are currently blocked from iOS mobile users, apparently because Apple’s mobile browser does not support the “real web” well enough to work acceptably with them. This prevents iOS users from accessing a secondary account.

Android and other mobile users are similarly blocked from accessing MobileMe, and get the same “download the iOS native apps” message iOS users get, despite there being no MobileMe native apps that Android or other mobile users can install.

The first user to report successfully logging into the new service, Rafael Fischmann of the Brazilian MacMagazine blog, presented screen shots of the new Mail, Calendar and Contacts apps, all of which have adopted a new iPad-like appearance.

The new service also includes iCloud for Keynote, Pages and Numbers, which “stores your documents and keeps them up to date on your devices and the web.” This new service goes above and beyond the former iWork.com, which simply enabled users to share documents over the web to other users, with a web app client that enabled others to view and comment on documents even without owning iWork.

icloud_mail

icloud_mail

icloud_calendar

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icloud_contacts

icloud_contacts

The new iCloud for iWork apps incorporates “iCloud for Documents,” a new storage and sync feature that third party developers can incorporate in their own apps to allow their users to keep documents in sync across the users various devices, updating changes made on one machine across every other instance of that file, automatically.

The new service also includes iCloud for Keynote, Pages and Numbers

The new service also includes iCloud for Keynote, Pages and Numbers

The first 5GB of documents users store within iCloud will be free, while Apple appears set to make 10, 20 and 50GB options available annually for $20, $40, or $100, respectively.

Missing in the transition from MobileMe to iCloud is the Gallery and iDisk web apps, which are largely replaced by similar functionality offered by iCloud’s Photo Stream and Documents features.