updated 08:00 pm EDT, Tue August 2, 2011
Indicates expansion of iCloud side of office suite
Apple has posted a job position for an engineer who will be part of the "core team" for the iWork software to help "build the front and/or back end of scalable web applications," AppleInsider reports. The posting suggests a further expansion of iWork's abilities and revamping some of the concepts that made up Apple's initial attempt at iWork/web interaction, iWork.com -- which is now being combined into the iCloud service.
MobileMe and now iCloud have worked on creating web-browser versions of the desktop and mobile apps that replicate as many of the features as possible, and recent clues have indicated that Apple intends to extend that experience to the iWork apps -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Previously, the existing iWork.com has limited uses to viewing, downloading and commenting on uploaded iWork documents, but did not allow any actual changes to be performed.
An interactive web-based application would enable users who don't have iWork to edit, store or revise documents, and would lower the barrier with Windows-based users who don't have the ability to run the iWork programs on their computers. Like iWork.com, the web application could also offer to translate iWork documents into Microsoft Office and PDF format for use on other platforms and applications.
Apple's approach to a web application version of iWork is unlikely to match the directions taken by Google and Microsoft, who have both launched web-only versions of office-type software. Google has enjoyed modest popularity with Google Docs, while Microsoft has struggled to find an audience for its Office 365 as Apple has with iWork.com. In both Google and Microsoft's case, no corresponding mobile app ties in with the web service, though some third-party app offerings attempt to replicate their functionality or manage access to the documents stored in the cloud by either service.
Apple's iCloud will handle syncing and "pushing" (if desired) iWork documents between the mobile and desktop (and perhaps web) versions of the software, also making it easy to share larger presentations. The moves may be foreshadowing an all-new version of the iWork suite in the foreseeable future, though the current iWork '09 apps recently received a minor revision that enhanced and added Lion-specific features such as Full Screen, Versions and Auto Save. The current developer release of iWork for iOS has also added iCloud support, but otherwise offers no new features. [via AppleInsider]