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iWork Updated for Yosemite and iCloud Drive

If you have begun to detect moisture dripping from your cable modem, it may be because Apple’s servers are perspiring heavily as they deliver gigabytes of software updates to Mac and iOS users. Among these are six different updates for the iWork apps: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote; that’s three updated apps for the Mac and three more for iOS. These updates are mostly in the service of OS X 10.10 Yosemite, iOS 8.1, and the iCloud Drive service that binds them together (see “OS X 10.10 Yosemite, iOS 8.1, and Apple Pay Have Arrived,” 16 October 2014, and “Moving to iCloud Drive,” 15 October 2014).

So, what hath Cupertino wrought?

iWork for Mac -- Here’s what Apple has highlighted in its “What’s New?” notes for the three Mac iWork apps:

  • Common to them all: All three Mac apps offer a new Yosemite-based design, the capability to switch between Mac and iOS versions instantly using the new Handoff feature, iCloud Drive support, better bidirectional language support, usability enhancements for positioning and resizing charts, and a revised file format that won’t cause problems when transferring files with services like Dropbox and Gmail.

  • Pages 5.5: The word-processing and page-layout app has grown a sidebar for displaying comments and tracked changes, and you can filter those comments and tracked changes by author. Pages also lets you insert inline images into headers, footers, and table cells. Also added are alignment guides for inter-table alignment and other table enhancements. Though Mail Merge has not yet returned as a user-facing feature, the update does claim to provide AppleScript support for it.

  • Numbers 3.5: The spreadsheet app features a new Transpose feature that you can use to switch table rows to columns and vice-versa. Floating comments can now be printed. And, like Pages, Numbers offer alignment guides for inter-table alignment.

  • Keynote 6.5: The presentation app has added features you can use to resize and move items on the presenter display. For instance, you can choose whether or not to show a timer and also control what the timer displays (such as elapsed time or time remaining). Additional presentation improvements include the capability to pair your Mac with nearby iOS devices over Wi-Fi using Multipeer Connectivity as well as Bluetooth. Enhancements that make tables easier to select and move have also made it into the app. Finally, a new Trace animation has been provided.

The updates to all three Mac apps are free to existing users.

iWork for iOS -- The iOS apps, which all hit version 2.5 with this update, have received a number of similar improvements, including support for iCloud Drive. Though not obvious from the Documents screens in those apps, tapping the + button on the toolbar presents an import menu with a new entry: iCloud. Tap that and you can roam around the folders of your iCloud Drive to bring in files.

Other features common to all of the iOS apps are support for third-party storage providers like Dropbox, improved file formats, Handoff, better bi-directional language support, a new custom color mixer on the iPad, and the capability to use your device’s camera to add photos to a presentation, spreadsheet, or document.

Individual app enhancements include the following:

  • Pages for iOS, like its Mac sibling, now provides inline images in tables, headers, and footers; it displays inter-table alignment guides; and it provides for the printing of floating comments. Additionally, tables in Pages now support column and row labels. And, for those who make ebooks with the app, Pages for iOS can export EPUB files that contain videos.

  • Numbers for iOS also offers the row/column Transpose feature found in its Mac counterpart, and you can print floating comments from the app just as on the Mac.

  • Keynote for iOS shares the new Trace animation found on the Mac, as well as the floating comment print capability. As in Pages for iOS, tables in Keynote can now have row and column labels, and inter-table alignment guides and other enhancements make positioning tables and charts easier. The app also features new presenter display layouts.

Like the Mac apps, the upgrades are free for all current iWork for iOS users.

In Short -- The vision of cross-device compatibility via iCloud that drove last year’s retooling of the entire iWork suite has been refined on Yosemite and iOS 8, after a disconcerting month when the lack of iCloud Drive on Mavericks made such interchanges problematic.

If you liked the apps before, there is nothing but good news in the latest set of upgrades. If you found the iWork apps seriously lacking compared to what the apps offered before last year’s retooling, you may not find these updates any more compelling. Nonetheless, all the apps are deeper than a cursory examination might reveal, and the enhancements that Apple has just delivered are real improvements to a suite that was already surprisingly capable.


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Comments about iWork Updated for Yosemite and iCloud Drive
(Comments are closed.)

Andreas Frick  2014-10-18 05:01
Can this new Version still read iWork '09 documents? I'm also waiting for an replacement of the AppleWorks database module.
Michael E. Cohen  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2014-10-18 12:01
Pages 5.5 can still read Pages '09 documents. I haven't played much with the latest Numbers or Keynote apps, but I believe they each can read files from earlier versions, though that may depend on how early the version is. I do know that both of them could open my documents from the previous version.
Jolin Warren  An apple icon for a TidBITS Supporter 2014-10-27 05:53
I think it's highly unlikely Apple will ever provide a replacement for the AppleWorks database module. I've switched to Tap Forms which is really excellent, and has an active developer who is very responsive.
M. Perry  2014-10-18 08:22
Quote: "All three Mac apps offer a new Yosemite-based design, the capability to switch between Mac and iOS versions instantly using the new iOS and OS X Handoff feature,"

The apps may offer those features, but at least one grooup of users are being left out in the cold. The iPad 3 supports Bluetooth 4.0, necessary for Handoff. Some owners even claim that they had all the new iOS/OS X linking features in the iOS betas.

But for reasons it's not saying, Apple yanked Handoff et al off iPad 3 versions of the final release. Mine won't even offer Handoff as a choice in Settings, which is leaving my Mac feeling quite lonesome.

Michael E. Cohen  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2014-10-18 12:05
Does your Mac have Bluetooth 4.0 capability? You can't handoff to a Mac that doesn't have it.
Tonya Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2014-10-20 09:36
I found the specs that Apple shared for Handoff-capable iOS devices interesting because of the way Apple characterized it: the device must be running iOS 8 and it must have a Lightning connector. I don't think that there is anything about a Lightning connector's technology that would make the difference, so perhaps there is something else under the hood in those devices that's not discernible from the outside.

The Lightning connector requirement drops the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and iPad 3 from Handoff support.
robmorrison  2014-10-22 13:20
Since I use Pages more than the other iWork apps, I noticed that a lot of functionality got lost and remains so, even though it was rumored that iWork would regain that functionality. Luckily, I renamed Pages'08 so it would not be lost. The latest Pages is 5.2.2, which is confusing, since it is newer than 08 and 09.
I use my iMac for personal use only being retired. So most of the new stuff like Handoff is of no use to me. And the GUI is less appealing or useful than the older versions. Someone said that Jonny Ive should never have been allowed to be involved in the design of the GUI. I agree! Flatter is not necessarily better, but it does show evidence that he was there. But that is all. The only thing worse is Windows. There is little to be enthusiastic about with the "new Apple" of Jonny Ive.
Michael E. Cohen  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2014-10-22 13:22
The latest Pages is 5.5, not 5.2.2.