Apple's office software gets a rebuild, with the previous one still functioning
Welcome to The Feature Thief, a mini-series of columns where we take a look at some of Apple's rollercoaster of change when it comes to software -- from apps that got a makeover to a sex change, or even some that just got tossed out entirely. Each day this week, we'll take a fairly recent example of each of the three types of sometimes-painful change users have been subjected to when Apple gets a new idea, what to do about it, and where to look for alternatives if necessary.
Mac and Windows users alike need only an Apple ID to use web versions of productivity apps
PC users that have been curious to try out Apple's suite of productivity programs, formerly known collectively as iWork, are now able to do so from the main iCloud.com website, the feature having been taken out of Apple's beta.icloud.com lab. Earlier this month, Apple made a free 1GB account available to any users who wanted to sign up but did not have an Apple device, but only within the beta site. Now the applications (in their web versions) are available free for anyone with an Apple ID to use.
Test available on Apple's beta portal, longevity of run not known.
Apple has fired up a cross-platform beta test portal for its iWork applications. Overnight, the page appeared, giving Windows and Android users 1GB of space for storage, as well as access to Apple's application suite, previously limited to only Cupertino-designed hardware.
French, Japanese among new translations
The iCloud edition of iWork has received a number of updates, primarily the addition of new languages. Pages is now usable in Arabic, Hebrew, French, German, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and simplified Chinese; Arabic and Hebrew are bidirectional. Keynote and Numbers, meanwhile, have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and simplified Chinese.
Support for Microsoft Office another focus
As promised, Apple has revealed its updates to the OS X iWork suite. The apps have been redesigned for OS X Yosemite, and now support related features such as iCloud Drive, and Handoff to iPads and iPhones. Pages has gained a variety of specific features, such as a sidebar for comments and changes, the ability to insert images in tables, headers, and footers, and better compatibility with Word documents, including password-protected .docx export.
Downloads still optional for 16GB models
People picking up a 64 or 128GB iPhone 6/6 Plus later this week will find several of Apple's iLife and iWork apps pre-installed, a leaked internal Apple training document reveals. The company specifically lists iMovie, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and iTunes U. "These apps are also available as a free download from the App Store for the 16GB models," Apple writes.
Release notes offer little information, but iMovie Theater bug fixed
On Thursday, Apple issued minor updates to its OS X versions of iMovie, Pages, Keynote and Numbers. The most significant of the updates appears to be for iMovie, updated to version 10.0.5 that offers iCloud compatibility improvements for iMovie Theater, though there is still no fix for the program under the Yosemite Public Beta. Also updated were Keynote (to v6.2.2), Pages (to 5.2.2), and Numbers (to version 3.2.2).
Productivity suite now offers seamless switching between environments
On Tuesday, Apple updated its iWork suite of apps for iCloud -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- for better harmonization with the desktop and mobile versions of the apps. The improvements, such as persistent document settings across platforms, are intended to make the transition from working on a document using the desktop app to opening the same file on iCloud more consistent and smoother for users. Screen names for opening shared documents and other areas have also been improved.
Charts, image caps see tweaks
Apple has updated iWork for iCloud with several improvements. Most significantly, compatible documents can now measure up to 1GB in size, and collaboration support has been expanded to 100 people. Users can also apply formatting to charts, and create 2D and interactive charts. More color options are available, and the cap on image size has been increased to 10MB.
Quick update may have connection to earlier Airport OpenSSL patch
Among other updates issued on Tuesday, Apple has further updated the iOS versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- formerly known collectively as iWork apps -- to version 2.2.1, just three weeks after its last update. The previous version introduced new features and restored old ones, but today's update lists only unnamed "stability and bug fixes," which might hint that the change is related somehow to an OpenSSL patch for 2013 Airport Extremes and Time Capsules issued earlier today.
Web version also gains additional functionality, just after Office for iPad arrives
In what is probably a coincidental update following the recent release of Office for iPad, Apple has launched new versions of the trio of apps formerly known as iWork (i.e., Pages, Numbers and Keynote) for both OS X and iOS. The biggest new feature across all versions is a new "view only" setting that allows users to share documents but keep them read-only. Pages for OS X and iOS gains better support for key features such as ePub export, Numbers for OS X and iOS has improved Excel compatibility, and Keynote for both platforms now supports PPTX export, among many other new and improved features for all three programs.
Web apps get Retina display enhancements, more
Apple has made some improvements to iWork for iCloud, according to pop-up messages. All three web apps in the suite -- Pages, Numbers, and Keynote -- have been given better support for Retina displays, a new editor tab, and upgraded sharing functions. The latter let people set shared documents as view-only, and open documents directly via iCloud Mail.
Keynote 6.1 regains transitions, new features; iMovie fixes bugs
Apple on Thursday continued with a slew of updates by issuing a bug-fix release of iMovie for OS X, bringing it up to v10.0.2, and a refresh of its productivity suite of three apps known collectively as "iWork" for OS X and iOS that returns some features dropped from the previous releases in November, which were part of a "rebuilding" process for the now 64-bit and web-compatible programs (Keynote, Pages and Numbers). Apple had previously promised to return most features taken out of the programs in the most recent redesign.
List shows recently-shared documents
Apple has pushed out a major update of the iWork for iCloud suite of web apps. While the apps are still officially in beta, all three have been given a new, iOS 7-style makeover for their template pickers and document libraries. During editing, though, users will still see the old iOS 6-style look.
Keynote gets substantial improvements, others get back customizable toolbars
[Updated with additional information] As promised by the company in response to user feedback, updates have been made to Apple's iWork suites of apps for Mac and iOS. Apple has released v2.0.1 updates for the iOS versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. The iOS versions of, Pages and Numbers have only received minor bugfixes, but the Mac versions gained back a feature removed from the v10 remakes - customizable toolbars. The Mac and iOS version of Keynote also added a series of new transitions and builds.
Web apps still officially in beta
Apple has made several minor updates to iWork for iCloud. The emphasis is on collaboration features, which now include a list of the people currently working on a project. Likewise, apps will display cursors and selections for each editor.
Real-time collaboration competes with Google
Microsoft has introduced a range of new features to its Office 365 web apps, strengthening the free productivity tools amid a growing rivalry with Apple's iWork suite. Real-time co-authoring is the focal point for the web-based utilities, enabling multiple users to simultaneously collaborate on the same project. The feature essentially catches up with the capabilities of iWork and Google Docs.
Users have complained about missing features
Some features that went missing in last month's iWork update for the Mac will return within the next six months, Apple states in a new knowledge base article. The company says that it rewrote the suite with compatibility in mind, including 64-bit processing and interaction between Mac, iOS, and iCloud. That led to some iWork '09 features being left out, but a number of them should return in a series of future updates.
Could impact number of developers
The AppleScript dictionary included with the latest version of the iWork suite has been so stripped down as to be virtually absent, a developer observes. AppleScript lets both developers and individuals automate actions that would otherwise require many repetitive steps. "What I suspect Apple doesn't realize is how much small business and small shops workflow depends upon AppleScript," comments the developer, Clark Goble. "Casual use is fine. But a lot of people do more. It wouldn't be so bad were there an alternative."
Mac App Store failing to recognize existing installations
Some users of iLife '11 and iWork '09 are having trouble upgrading to the new versions released yesterday, according to complaints. The difficulty is that when trying to download the new software through the Mac App Store, the store fails to recognize the earlier installations. Instead it responds with an error message: "[The app] is already installed and was not purchased from the Mac App Store. Do you want to buy [the app]?"
All now 64-bit, free for iOS 7 and Mavericks upgraders
Apple has launched updated versions of the apps formerly known as the "iLife" and "iWork" suites for OS X and iOS 7. On the Mac, iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband get makeovers, with major changes seen in Garageband to bring it much more in line with Apple's existing "Pro" audio app, Logic Pro. For iOS, the three programs have been updated for the iOS 7 look, with iPhoto for iOS gaining the ability to make photo books. The iWork apps have received new templates and design overhauls, but are otherwise only lightly changed.
Service on verge of leaving beta
Apple is in the process of bringing iWork for iCloud out of beta later today, a glimpse at iCloud.com suggests. Loading the beta Pages, Numbers, or Keynote web apps currently triggers a notification at the top of the site, promising more features for each app within "a few short hours." Apple is due to hold a press event at 10AM Pacific time, after which the company will presumably flip the switch on completed web apps.
Issues not universal
Some users of the new iOS iWork apps are experiencing "blue screen of death" crashes, complaints indicate. The crashes can potentially affect Pages, Numbers, and Keynote alike, and are easy to trigger. After launching one of the apps, users just have to open an existing document and then hit a device's Home button. This may not only kill the app, but force the device itself to reboot. Not all users are suffering from the problem however.
On-screen prompt for downloads will appear on devices
As hinted at previously, Apple will be providing five best-selling creativity and productivity apps free to customers buying new iOS devices. The iWork suite, consisting of Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, along with iPhoto and iMovie will be available to download at no charge to anyone purchasing a new iPad, new iPhone, or 5th-gen iPod touch in the future.
Users encounter error messages at iCloud.com
Apple is restricting some users' access to the iWork for iCloud beta, anecdotes indicate. People trying to launch Pages, Numbers, or Keynote from the iCloud website may find themselves blocked by an error message stating that Apple has had an "overwhelming response," and asking them to "check back soon." The company promises however that documents saved in the Mac and iOS versions of iWork will still be backed up to iCloud.
Rollout no longer gradual
The iWork for iCloud beta is now accessible by all iCloud users. Web versions of the iWork apps -- Pages, Numbers, and Keynote -- were initially restricted to developers, but then gradually began reaching the general public through the beta iCloud site. Today, though, the iWork apps have been independently pushed to iCloud.com.
Web version brings iWork to PC, may be free of charge
MacNN readers and staffers have reported receiving invitations from Apple to try out the iWork for iCloud beta, and may expand the program to all those with an iCloud account. The online version of the three iWork apps -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- is not believed to be intended to replace the local Mac and iOS versions, but instead complement them with a way to use the programs from any online device -- including, for the first time, Windows computers. Our reviews of the apps found them to be superb implementations of the latest web technologies.
Several paid Apple apps included in first-time recommendations
An oddity in the latest iOS 7 beta suggests that Apple could make the iOS edition of iWork and/or several other of its apps free. The App Store's first-time recommendation window, which suggests Apple apps to download, is currently including the iWork apps -- Pages, Keynote, Numbers -- as well as several other paid titles, like iMovie, iPhoto, and GarageBand. The window normally only mentions free apps, such as iBooks and Find My iPhone.
Numbers for iCloud is beautiful, elegant and simple to use
In past two days, we have taken a "first look" at Pages for iCloud and Keynote for iCloud. Both are great examples of Apple’s software-making prowess, and reinforce Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent assertion that it remains ‘laser focused on product innovation’. Not being one for working with numbers, I was not particularly looking forward to looking more closely at Numbers. However, just as Pages and Keynote for iCloud will change your perception of what is possible in a web-based app, Numbers for iCloud will too. Even if you’ve never used a spreadsheet before, you just might actually want to use Numbers for iCloud when it debuts in the fall.
Keynote for iCloud defines Apple's vision for web 3.0
Yesterday we took a look at the Pages for iCloud beta and were highly impressed by what Apple has achieved with its word processing and publishing application. It looks and works very much like a desktop application and pushes the envelope for what has previously been achieved with an entirely web-based app. Keynote is the next of the three iWork for iCloud beta apps in our short series looking at Apple's new iWork for iCloud suite of web apps. Is it possible to recreate a presentation app in the cloud with the full power of a desktop presentation app? It doesn't seem likely, but then it didn't seem likely that we would see what a web-app like Pages for iCloud can do in a browser.
Test base grows beyond developers
Access to the iWork for iCloud beta has been extended to Apple workers, according to an internal email. Pages, Numbers, and Keynote web apps were launched in beta form earlier this month at WWDC 2013, but testing was initially restricted to third parties registered in Apple's developer program. Apple workers are allowed to access the beta for personal use.
First solid glimpse at new iOS
Apple has posted several videos on its website in the wake of today's WWDC keynote. These include the keynote itself, designer Jonathan Ive's introduction to iOS 7, and the "Designed by Apple" corporate branding ad narrated by Ben Affleck. The keynote video is roughly two hours long.
Will support Office documents
Apple has announced that its iWork app suite -- Pages, Keynote, and Numbers -- will be coming to iCloud.com sometime later this year. In web form, the apps will support a variety of editing functions such as font selection, adding, cropping, and rotating images, or animating Keynote transitions. Users will be able to gain access via compatible OS X and Windows browsers; Office documents will be included in format support.
Updates could arrive on or soon after WWDC
Several recent Apple job listings may hint that the company is on the verge of updating both the OS X and iOS editions of iWork, reports say. Some of the listings date back as far as March; one of them, though, was posted on May 11, and specifically calls for an iWork QA tester, which could mean Apple is in the last phases of development. Another opening, dating back to May 7, asks for a "HiDP Image Specialist," tasked with bringing iWork visual designs to Retina displays.
Apps last updated in December
Apple has posted minor updates to the iOS versions of its iWork apps. In this case Pages, Numbers, and Keynote all share the same release notes, indicating that they make "stability improvements and bug fixes." Apple hasn't identified what particular bugs have been solved.
iOS update increases Microsoft Office compatibility
After a lengthy break since the last revision, Apple has updated its entire iWork suite of programs on both iOS and OS X. Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iOS are now at version 1.7, with improved compatibility with Microsoft Office and the counterpart iWork programs for Mac. The OS X version has been upgraded to version 9.3, adding support for iWork for iOS 1.7.
Thunderbolt-to-FireWire adapter still off store
(Updated with Thunderbolt-to-FireWire availability) Apple appears to have restored new build-to-order options for the lower-end model of the Retina MacBook Pro. At the company's online store, shoppers can now scale the processor up to a 2.6 or 2.7GHz Core i7, or the SSD up to 512 or 768GB. Apple is moreover allowing any new Mac buyer to have Pages, Numbers, or Keynote pre-installed.
New Server just $20 add-on
(Updated with Safari security notes) Accompanying today's launch of OS X Mountain Lion are a number of parallel software updates. Amount these is OS X Server for Mountain Lion, a $20 add-on. The release marks another price drop for Server, which in its Lion form cost $49; before that it cost several times more still.
Apple again urges people to migrate to iCloud
Apple is sending out email notices reminding people of the impending iWork.com shutdown. The service will go dark on July 31st; in the memo, Apple links users to a support article telling them how to save their documents, and also recommends uploading files to iCloud for access across multiple computers and iOS devices. Once this month's deadline has passed, Apple will delete any documents still left on iWork.com.
Pushes users to Mac App Store
Apple has removed trial versions of Aperture and the iWork suite from its website, reports observe. In both cases, users are now being asked to visit the Mac App Store and pay for full products. "The trial version of iWork is no longer supported. But you can easily purchase Keynote, Pages, and Numbers from the Mac App Store to start creating beautiful presentations, documents, and spreadsheets today," the US iWork page reads.
Users can retrieve docs until end of July
Now that iCloud offers modern Mac and iOS users a way to store and edit iWork documents across iOS and Mac devices, Apple has sent e-mails to users of iWork.com informing them that the service will be closing down as of July 31st. The letter contains links to detailed instructions on how to retrieve copies of users' documents that are stored on iWork.com before the shutdown. The service began as a free beta in January 2009.
Updates introduced alongside new iPad
Apple has finally brought iPhoto to the iPad, while introducing updates to the existing iMovie, iWork and GarageBand apps. The apps, introduced alongside the new iPad, have been reworked to take advantage of the third-generation tablet's 2048x1536 'Retina Display', which quadruples the pixel density from the 1024x768 display of the original iPad and iPad 2.
Relies on brute force, forensic specialists
A somewhat sensationalist press release from Russian forensic-cryptology company ElComSoft claims that it can "crack" passwords users put on documents created in Apple's iWork software (which comprises Pages, Numbers and Keynote). However, the company admits that the attack is just a variation on a brute-force cracking method that attempts to guess the password.
Apple uses iWork lead Roger Rosner for textbooks
Apple's digital textbook creation system is relying on the manager of its iWork suite, slips uncovered on Tuesday. Productivity app VP Roger Rosner was said by the Wall Street Journal to be "closely involved" in crafting the system. His involvement would reflect the creative nature of the unveiling, which would let publishers and schools themselves easily create their own textbooks.
Bug puts mobile iWork users at high risk of loss
Reports are coming into Apple's support forums that a serious bug in the way iCloud syncing is handling iWork documents -- those created by Pages, Numbers or Keynote -- is causing the files to be deleted upon a fresh sync, leaving mobile iWork app users in particular with lost documents and no apparent way to get the work back (Mac users can recover the documents via their Time Machine or other backup devices).
Whole host of Apple apps get updates
Complementing the introduction of Find My Friends and AirPort Utility, Apple has launched two more iOS apps, plus updates to several existing titles. The first of the new apps is Cards, a previously announced program that lets users insert custom text and photos into 21 basic designs and have real-world greeting cards mailed to addresses around the world. This costs $3 when mailing within the US, or $5 when sending a card to an international address.
Lion and iTunes updates for iCloud may come Oct 11
A late rumor has Apple posting its iCloud-capable Mac OS X Lion and iTunes releases early. The "reliable" Macotakara contact has both Lion 10.7.2 and iTunes 10.5 arriving before the iOS 5 release on October 12. Apple rarely posts updates on weekends, making October 11 the most likely candidate if true.
Apple readies for iOS 5 launch with iWork, iBooks
Apple has posted a pair of updates to key iOS 5 apps in preparation for its iPhone event next week. Those with access to the developer center can now get iWork for iOS beta 4. It's uncertain what changes have surfaced in the new build, although at this stage they will likely be limited to polish.
iCloud to go offline for Sept 22 for final release
Apple on its developer boards warned that it would reset iCloud backup data on September 22 in what's likely a clue as to the final iOS 5 release. Developers using iCloud during the beta won't have the option of backing up or restoring for an entire workday, between 9AM and 5PM Pacific that day. Any backups from before the reset won't work and will need a fresh backup.
iTunes beta 8 and iWork beta 3 close on release
Apple signaled that it was closing in on the release of its iCloud-related efforts on Friday with new developer betas of iTunes and iWork for iOS. iTunes 10.5 beta 8 focuses on "several performance enhancements and bug fixes" but is considered necessary to keep using iTunes Match during its beta phase. As before, testers still have to pay $25 per year like the public but get extra months of service in return for the testing.