Earlier this week Apple released the iCloud beta which added the iWork suite. It keeps the traditional plain interface it had before with the addition of three new buttons for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. As this was a beta, the performance was a bit slow but I am sure that by the time it is released it will be better optimized. Stability and ease of use where very good as was the compatibility with MS Office documents which was my main concern.
Pages is Apple’s answer to Word. I have never used the OS X desktop version however the cloud version was feature rich and it worked well natively with Word documents. It came with a nice array of templates to do much of what you need to do while you are on the road. It is a bit limited right now in features but what is there is very well laid out and extremely easy to use.
Extra Features coming soon to Pages.
Here are a couple of examples of some features that are missing. It will be interesting to see how they incorporated editing pictures and objects in cloud based software.
Numbers is Apples answer to Excel. From my short time with it, I found it very easy to use, very nicely laid out, and very graphical, however it takes a bit of getting used to if you are accustomed to Excel. It seems more like a desktop layout program than a spreadsheet.
Keynote is Apple’s answer to PowerPoint. Again you see a consistent interface and all the basics you might need to slap together a simple and clean presentation together while on the road or away from your computer.
All in all, it is a step in the right direction and is a welcome addition to the otherwise useless iCloud web apps. One thing that puzzles me however is that since Apple is lousy at letting you store your data easily to the cloud, it makes me wonder why these work so well with MS Office documents. Could it mean that we will finally get to use the space they provide for something useful? One could hope. If you are registered as developer, you can test this out right now, otherwise you might have to wait a bit to get access to it.