Every year, shortly after releasing a new version of its iOS operating system, Apple also updates its iWork for iOS apps. Released in late January, the latest versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for the iPhone and iPad (version 2.1) continue to enhance what's possible when it comes to word processing, spreadsheet management, and digital slide show presentations using a smartphone or tablet that runs iOS 7.
Major App Improvements Have Been Made in Five Areas
Most notably, five distinct improvements have been made within the three iWork for iOS apps.
- First, the apps are now more fully integrated with the iWork for Mac and iWork for iCloud apps, which makes syncing app-specific data, documents, and files between your computers and mobile devices easier.
This functionality gives you access to your information from anywhere, using any computer with a web browser, as well as a computer or iOS mobile device that has the Pages, Numbers, and/or Keynote apps installed.
- Second, tools have been incorporated into these apps that allow for real-time collaboration with other Mac, PC, and iOS mobile device users. Now, multiple people can be working from anywhere on the same document or file at the same time, and all revisions to what the group is working on will automatically be reflected on everyone else's computer, smartphone, and/or tablet.
Thus, everyone who is invited to collaborate on specific documents or files will always have the latest version of their work at their fingertips (as long as their computer or device is connected to the Internet).
Meanwhile, the person who initiated the collaboration for a specific iWork-related document or file retains complete control over who has access to it, and can revoke access at any time for each specific document or file while keeping all other documents or files private.
- Third, the iWork for iOS apps are now offered by Apple for free if you purchase an iOS mobile device running iOS 7 or have older versions of the apps and need to upgrade. So if you are a Mac user, you can download and install Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on your iMac(s) and/or MacBook(s), install the iOS version of these apps on your iPhone and/or iPad, and set up these computers and devices to automatically sync all app-related documents, data, and files via iCloud.
- Fourth, all your iWork-related documents, data, and files can be automatically accessible using the online-based iWork for iCloud apps. As a result, at any time, and from any computer with a web browser (including a PC), from anywhere in the world, you can access, log in using your Apple ID/iCloud username and password. You can then access and use the online edition of Pages, Numbers, or Keynote for free; and have full access to the latest versions of your personal iWork-related documents, data, and files.
- Fifth, improvements have been made to the compatibility the iWork apps have with Microsoft Office, making it easier to import and export files between apps. Word documents can be imported into Pages, and Pages documents can be exported to Word; Excel spreadsheets can be imported into Numbers, and Numbers documents can be exported to Excel; and PowerPoint presentations can be imported into Keynote, and Keynote presentations can be exported into PowerPoint. The importing and exporting of documents and files can be done in several ways, using a Mac, iOS mobile device, or while using the online editions of the iWork apps via iCloud.com.
Minor Compatibility Issues May Arise When Importing or Exporting Documents and Files
Keep in mind that minor compatibility issues between documents or files may continue to exist, but the iWork apps offer tools to automatically correct these issues.
For example, if you're importing a document from Microsoft Word into Pages on your iPad that contains fonts that are not preinstalled on your tablet, the Pages for iOS app will alert you and automatically use what the app considers to be a similar font. This, however, will alter the appearance of the document and potentially affect its formatting. Similar issues may occur when importing or exporting spreadsheet files or digital slide presentations.
In the case of Keynote and PowerPoint presentations, slide transition and animation compatibility issues may exist, so you'll definitely want to preview a digital slide presentation that's been imported between platforms before presenting it to an audience. In most cases, these are minor issues that can easily be addressed.
Templates Make Getting Started With These Apps A Quick and Easy Process
Another improvement made to the iWork for iOS apps is the number of templates offered each time you create a new document, spreadsheet, or presentation. Pages for iOS, for example, now has more than 60 professionally designed templates that allow you to more easily create visually impressive documents, reports, resumes, and posters, for example, without having to spend too much time manually formatting your work.
Meanwhile, Numbers includes more than 30 predesigned templates for managing everything from home budgets and checklists to creating invoices and doing mortgage calculations. When it comes to crunching numbers, the app continues to offer more than 250 powerful functions using its redesigned and faster calculations engine, plus the capability to display numeric data as 2D or 3D charts.
When it comes to creating new presentations from scratch using Keynote for iOS, the app includes more than 30 presentation templates, each of which offers several predesigned slide formats, which you can mix and match with the app's built-in slide animations and transitions to create a truly unique and impressive presentation.
There Are Many Ways to Share Your iWork Documents and Files
In addition to being able to set up each of your Macs and iOS mobile devices to automatically sync iWork-related documents and files with your own computers and devices via your iCloud account, all three iWork for iOS apps offer numerous ways to share documents and files with others using iCloud.com, email, iMessage, Facebook, Twitter, or a WebDAV-compatible, cloud-based file sharing service.
When sharing a Pages document, for example, it can easily be exported in the Pages, Microsoft Word, ePub, or PDF file format to ensure compatibility when the recipient accesses the file.
Spreadsheet files created using Numbers can be exported using a Numbers, Microsoft Excel, CSV, or PDF file format. Keynote presentations can be exported from your iOS mobile device using a Keynote, Microsoft Excel, or PDF file format.
All three iWork for iOS apps also have an Open In Another App feature, which means that a document or file can be exported from Pages, Numbers, or Keynote and almost instantly imported into a compatible app that's installed on your iPhone or iPad. For example, a Pages document can be exported to the Dropbox app and then be uploaded to a Dropbox account using the Dropbox app and be synced and shared with other computers, mobile devices, and/or collaborators.
Although Pages, Numbers, and Keynote have been available for several years now, using these apps on an iPhone or iPad had some limitations because of the processing power of the smartphone or tablet. Thanks to the new Apple A7 processor that's built into the latest iPhone and iPad models, and the fact that Apple has optimized its iWork for iOS apps to work with this chip and iOS 7, all the computing power you'll need to create complex and data-intensive documents and files is now at your fingertips.
When attempting to touch type quickly when using Pages, for example, whether you're using the iPhone or iPad's virtual keyboard or an external keyboard, the app can now keep up with your quick finger motions, and you'll no longer experience sluggish typing (which led to typos).
Thanks to the technology that's built into the latest iPhones and iPads (including their Retina displays), combined with the features and functions built into the latest versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, using your smartphone or tablet as a powerful work-related tool is not only viable, it's easier than ever.
Once the iWork apps are installed on your iOS mobile device, you'll probably discover that you can often leave your heavier and more cumbersome notebook computer at home or at the office and rely solely on your iPad to get work done while on the go.