Design in line with iOS 7; Added features make for powerful, compelling documents; Office compatible; Free for new iOS users; Keyboard enhancements for quicker edits and enhancements
Still costs $30 for existing users; Some tasks better suited for keyboard and mouse input
Now offered for free for all new iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners, iWork is an excellent productivity suite for iOS users.
Apple has taken great strides of late to show that its iPad and iPhone devices are more than consumption devices. To aid in this effort, the company has released a massive update to iWork for iOS. Free for new iOS device owners, iWork brings a refreshed user experience to Pages, Numbers and Keynote in line with iOS 7. With the new apps, Apple wants to prove that even if you only have these devices at your disposal, you'll still be able to create great-looking documents, spreadsheets and presentations. How well does the new iWork suite -- free for new iOS users -- live up to that claim?
All of the templates from the OS X version of Pages are available on iOS, giving you access to more than 60 ready-made documents to let you hit the ground running. Once you launch a document, you'll see a new toolbar up top that puts all the tools you'll need to fully customize your document, reducing the amount of time it takes you to create content. The toolbar lets you navigate back to your iCloud documents, undo any changes made, perform advanced text formatting, add media content and charts, change settings and share your document with others.
When you add media to your document, such as a photo, the text automatically wraps around this content to give it a clean look. This feature is a welcome one, as it was previously a frustrating process to add images and tables to documents and format everything to get it looking just the way you want. Now it's automatic, and we found it worked very well in our testing.
Pages was designed with collaboration in mind, and new sharing options built into the app let you share documents via Mail, AirDrop, Twitter or Facebook. From there, people will be able to open and edit your document via the Pages for iCloud beta app on the Web. With this added focus on collaboration, Pages now includes enhanced commenting and highlighting tools to help users work on documents together, though they will only work in the Pages for iOS and Mac apps, and not in iWork for iCloud .
Apple also made changes to Numbers' formatting panel, making it more intuitive, with all the tools you'll need just a touch or two away. Numbers now has better print preview and export options, more sharing functionally, and added interactive and bubble charts.
Keynote is widely viewed as the best iWork app in the suite, so it's perhaps fitting that the app only received a few added features aside from UI enhancements. Apple added several new animations, bringing your presentation to life with transitions, builds and effects. You can also add interactive charts, which include a scrollbar you can use to animate your charts and present data in a more meaningful way. You can share your work with others on Messages, Facebook, Twitter or via Email.
Overall, we found the new Keynote made creating presentations a simple, frustration-free process. The new user interface puts all needed tools right where you need them, and provides one- or two-touch access to everything. Even if you're using Keynote for iOS exclusively, you'll be able to create professional, good-looking presentations, and added features like interactive charts will help make your presentation shine.
iWork vs. the Competition
iWork for iOS' main competition is Google Drive, Office 365 and a handful of stand-alone mobile productivity suites, including Documents to Go, Polaris Office and Quickoffice. Compared with these products, iWork's formatting options provide more tools to better customize your documents, and presents them in a way that makes them easy to find and use. Only Apple has also added powerful new tools such as interactive charts.
Since Apple designed iOS and the iWork suite, iWork users are treated to a product with a familiar design aesthetic. And while other apps can match iWork in terms of look and feel, iWork is much better integrated into the OS, as evidenced by the enhanced sharing features that let you share your documents via many different avenues and formats.
iWork is also now winning the price battle, with new iOS users getting the suite for free. Google Drive is also free, but most of the stand-alone apps will set you back $10 to $20, and Office 365 requires an annual $100 subscription. Looking at the total package of cost, features and design, Apple's iWork for iOS is the best option for most iOS users.
Now free with any new iOS purchase, the iWork for iOS suite is a must-have tool to unlock your iPhone and iPad's content-creation potential. Pages, Numbers and Keynote can each be used to create clean, professional-looking documents. And Apple's powerful new tools, such as interactive charts, will help you present information in a meaningful way. Best of all, these applications now look like they belong in iOS 7 .
Sure, you may not always want to create documents exclusively in iWork for iOS, but Apple has shown that you can, and that you don't have to make many sacrifices to do so. The new iWork for iOS is one of the best productivity suites available for iOS today. Even for current iOS device owners, the cost of purchasing the suite -- $29, or $9.99 individually -- is worth it for those who need a productivity suite on their iPhone or iPad.
|Platforms||Mac OS X|