Like who didn’t see this coming, not to say I am sort of a soothsayer, but hey, it was a long time coming. The exclusivity that Apple had in terms of its product offerings in terms of access via other devices and software platforms such as Android and Windows was zero at best, not to mention snobbingly elitist. However, Apple is taking its iWork for iCloud apps multi-platform to the tune of turning it into a product accessible to internet users on any device, similar to Google Docs. Whereas previously for one to use Apple Pages, Numbers, and Keynote one needed to own at least one Apple device, that’s not the case now; you’re now able to get an Apple ID and access the apps without having need for your own Mac, iPhone, or iPad.
Users need an Apple ID before they can use word processor Pages, spreadsheet app Numbers, and Powerpoint-a-like Keynote. For those that do sign up to use iWork for iCloud apps get 1GB of free storage such that they can save files in Apple’s apps and access them across different devices even if they only have access to Windows, Android, or Linux machines. But you should know, for now, the option to use the apps only exists if you sign up on iWork for iCloud’s beta site — Apple has yet to announce plans to expand the feature to the standard version of its iWork apps.
If you want to be a User, then get an Apple ID to access the Apps
Back in 2013, Apple made iWork’s apps free to use and removing a host of compatibility issues in the process, but tearing out a number of features from Pages, Numbers, and Keynote simultaneously. The three apps have traditionally been seen as less feature-rich than the programs in Google’s Drive and Microsoft’s Office suites, but by making iWork truly multi-platform as it also makes iCloud itself easier to use on different operating systems, Apple is clearly shouting at top of its voice that it wants to challenge the market leaders.
Nevertheless, Apple’s iWork apps function best when you’re also using an iOS device. We’re guessing that’s why Apple is offering up iWork for iCloud access for free in the hopes that it will convince even more holdouts to try an iPhone or iPad. It’s also a pretty decent alternative if you’re looking for a new place to store your work online. I must say that Apple’s done a pretty good job of ameliorating its iCloud apps in the past year, though we still generally prefer to use alternatives from Google and Microsoft. A point of note about Apple is that when it comes to its product package, it’s usually ‘to-get-one-you-must-get-the-other’, so when it comes to iWork, it’s a shift from that long-established paradigm.
I can only hope and believe that Apple will extend the capabilities for iWork even as it continues to build its own cloud services. Tim Cook, whatever you are smoking, hurrah! Of course, if you send some of that this side of Sub-Saharan Africa, you’ll be in my good books for a long time.