iWork for iPad updated in the face of new competition from Microsoft

Summary:Apple has released updates to Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iOS in the wake of Microsoft's launch of Office for iPad suite. Is it enough to steal the thunder from Redmond?

iWork for iPad updated in the face of new competition from Microsoft - Jason O'Grady
(Art: Apple, Inc.)

Apple's not standing still after Microsoft released its vaunted Office for iPad suite on Thursday.

The company Tuesday released upgrades to its iWork office suite for iPad adding new features and showing that it's going to put up a fight and not cede the iOS office app space to the 800 pound guerrilla from Redmond. Pages, ($9.99, App Store), Numbers ($9.99, App Store), and Keynote ($9.99, App Store) were revised to version 2.2 adding several new features, most notably a read-only mode allowing documents to be shared without granting editing permission to the recipient, and numerous enhancements to the editing UI.

Although the apps cost $10 individually, iWork are iLife are now free with the purchase of a new Mac or iOS device.

Pages v2.2 added the following new features:

  • New "view only" setting lets you share documents you want others to view but not edit 
  • Search documents by name
  • Inline images and shapes in table cells are preserved on import
  • Better placement of inserted and pasted objects
  • New Arabic and Hebrew templates
  • Improved support for bi-directional text
  • Word count for Hebrew
  • Improved ePub export
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels
  • Usability improvements

Numbers v2.2 added:

  • New "view only" setting lets you share spreadsheets you want others to view but not edit
  • Search spreadsheets by name 
  • Progress indicator for calculations
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels
  • Faster CSV import
  • Improved Microsoft Excel compatibility 
  • Usability improvements

Keynote v2.2 added:

  • Use your finger to illustrate on slides as you present
  • New "view only" setting lets you share presentations you want others to view but not edit
  • New portrait layout option in presenter display
  • Search presentations by name
  • New transitions and builds: Object Revolve, Drift and Scale, and Skid
  • Control the z-order of bubble chart labels
  • Export to PPTX format
  • Detailed presentation import feedback
  • Improved animation performance
  • Improved bi-directional support: switch direction for text, lists and tables
  • Usability improvements

The improvements to iWork for iOS correspond to changes made to iWork for iCloud made at the same time. 9to5Mac reports that Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iCloud (still in beta) received improved sharing options, enhanced editing UIs and support for Retina displays. Like their iOS counterparts All three web apps have been updated with the ability to share read-only documents and to open documents directly from iCloud Mail. 

While the changes are welcome additions, will they be enough to slow down the momentum being generated by Office for iPad? Will Microsoft consume all the oxygen in the Office app space? 

Topics: Apple, Apps, iOS, iPad, Microsoft

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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