Sorry, developers and those who were randomly invited early to the party: Apple's iWork for iCloud beta is no longer an exclusive club, as Cupertino has lifted the velvet ropes and made it available to anyone with an Apple ID.
Back during WWDC, Apple announced that its beloved productivity suite, iWork, would be hosted on the web, thus allowing the Cupertino giant to compete with Google Drive. But now it appears that Apple might be taking that competition far more seriously than anticipated. Based on a welcome screen in the iOS 7 beta that was uncovered by German site ifun (as reported by MacRumors), Apple might be bringing both iWork and ILife to the masses for free on iOS.
Like last year, Apple started this year's WWDC keynote with a clever video. But this time it wasn't a cheap shot at Android or a silly swipe at Samsung. It was a peek into Apple's design philosophy, a beautifully crafted response to anyone who has been questioning its commitment to innovation:
"If everyone is busy making everything, how can anyone perfect anything? We start to confuse convenience with joy, abundance with choice. Designing something requires focus. The first thing we ask is, what do we want people to feel? Delight. Surprise. Love. Connection. Then we begin to craft around our intention. It takes time ... there are a thousand no's for every yes. We simplify. We perfect. We start over. Until every thing we touch enhances each life it touches. Only then do we sign our work: Designed by Apple in California."
It was barely a minute, but it stuck with me throughout the two hours of pomp and circumstance that followed. Apple hasn't been dragging its heels or taking its eye off the ball. On the contrary, it's more focused than it's ever been.
With more than 300 million iCloud users, Apple is perfectly poised to expand upon the services it can offer, demonstrating a cloud-based version of iWork that will be available as a developer preview starting today.
Those who live and breathe presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote have little trouble working up great-looking slide decks with minimal effort. Meanwhile, the rest of us struggle to find the right backgrounds, graphics, and fonts for effectively conveying our message – a task now made effortless with Haiku Deck. Available free for iPad, Haiku Deck uses slick themes to help users create stunning presentations in as little time as possible.
Now that the booths have been broken down, the awards have been handed out and the last bit of per diem has been fed into a slot machine at McCarran International Airport, there's a general sense that something was missing from CES. Somehow, among the thousands of exhibitors, products and prototypes, the biggest splash was a television that few consumers could afford and a keynote presentation that the greatest minds in tech journalism are still trying to figure out.
If Evernote and Keynote and NovaMind all got together and had a baby (never mind the mechanics, OK?), the offspring might look a little like Zengobi's Curio. A virtual whiteboard with presentation capacities, Curio has the organizational chops of Evernote, mind-mapping capabilities comparable to the best apps, and the ability to run slideshows with transitions, though with a limited palette.
Taken together, Curio is one fast-loading, responsive package with fantastic potential and tons of flexibility. If there's a downside, it's Curio's price: $100 for new users and $50 for upgraders.
Microsoft is making huge strides on bringing its productivity line-up to the cloud, so it's understandable that Apple is seeking to offer an alternative. Today, rumors are surfacing that Cupertino is partnering with VMware to push the company's own iWork software to the net.