“Perhaps the most striking thing about iWork for iCloud is that unlike Office Online and the Google Drive suite, it has clearly been built as a whole from the ground up,” Woody Leonhard writes for Infoworld. “Office Online inherits its DNA from Microsoft Office, which itself grew in Frankenstein fashion over many years. The Google Apps resemble Office 2003 in an uncanny way; they, too, have odds and ends grafted on the side. Both remain saddled with old-fashioned interfaces, and even old-fashioned notions about what constitutes a document or a spreadsheet or a presentation. With iWork, Apple takes a fresh approach.”
“Apple used to sell iOS and OS X versions of the iWork apps, but as of September 2013, they’re free for those who buy new Apple mobile devices or computers, respectively. Also unlike Microsoft and Google, Apple notes that its online apps are currently in beta,” Leonhard writes. “More than any other suite in these reviews, iWork for iCloud has a very coherent, uniform design — the apps hang together well. Even the icons at the top of the window (see Figure 1) are identical in all three apps. They have a minimalist feel, but cover all of the bases.”
“Usability, in a word, is excellent, in no small part because the general approach is the same in all of the apps. That coherent design is reflected in the interface itself… Unlike the other two suites, iWork for iCloud will open password-protected Microsoft Office documents. Even Office Online won’t do that,” Leonhard writes. “But Apple’s file interface stinks. Of the three major browser-based office suites, Apple’s is the worst for handling files. The only simple way to get a file into iWork for iCloud is to drag and drop it into a specific app’s Web page. (You can directly access files created in iWork for Mac or iOS that are saved in iCloud there.) You can’t sync a folder on a Mac or PC with iWork for iCloud, as you can Office Online and Google Drive. And if there’s a way to set up folders from inside iWork for iCloud, I couldn’t find it. If you aren’t overly concerned about Office compatibility and you only work with a few documents, iWork for iCloud is an excellent choice. Experienced Office users will have to unlearn a lot they “know” about documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, but the clean iWork interface really shows through.”
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