Apple boosts iOS iWork suite's Office doc compatibility

Pre-empts Microsoft, which will reportedly ship native iOS Office apps in early '13

Apple yesterday updated its iWork suite -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- for the iPad and iPhone, beefing up compatibility with Microsoft's Office.

The Cupertino, Calif. company may be trying to get the jump on Microsoft, which is expected to ship iOS native apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint early next year.

The new versions of iWork for iOS feature improved compatibility with Office, Microsoft's leading business suite that rumors have long claimed will eventually make it to the iPad and iPhone as native applications.

Apple has posted long lists of the Office compatibility changes in iWork to its website. The Pages word processor is analogous to Microsoft Word, while Numbers and Keynote are Apple's answers to Microsoft's Excel and PowerPoint, respectively.

Pages also sports a change-tracking feature for the first time, while Numbers now lets users hide columns and rows. And Keynote features new printing options to put presenter notes on paper.

Existing owners of the apps receive the upgrades for free; new users pay $9.99 for each of the three, which must be purchased separately. Apple does not offer a discounted bundle.

Apple also updated Pages, Numbers and Keynote on OS X, but the changes were limited to support for their new iOS siblings. Those applications cost $19.99 each, although the minor upgrades are free to current users.

Pages on iOS now tracks changes to documents.

iWork was last overhauled in 2009 -- although an update last summer added support for Retina-style displays in some of the MacBook Pro laptops -- sparking speculation that Apple has put the desktop suite on hold.

Although Pages is No. 4 on the iOS App Store's list of paid apps -- Keynote and Numbers are Nos. 12 and 17 -- and the three apps are all in the Top 5 in the OS X-only Mac App Store, they've long been seen as poor substitutes for the real thing, which for virtually every business, is Microsoft Office.

Talk of Microsoft bringing Office to iOS, particularly the iPad, has swirled since Apple launched its first tablet in 2010. The rumors picked up momentum this year, and although Microsoft has not clarified its plans, this fall the firm's Czech arm said native iOS and Android apps would ship in the first quarter of 2013. Microsoft quickly disavowed the announcement, however, calling it "not accurate."

Last month, The Verge, citing unnamed sources, reported that Microsoft would release iOS apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint in late February or early March 2013, followed in May by similar software for Android.

The free apps will purportedly offer view-only capabilities; to enable editing and other features customers will have to link the Office apps to Office 365, the subscription service Microsoft plans to kick off in early 2013.

Pages, Numbers and Keynote updates can be retrieved from the iOS App Store and the OS X Mac App Store.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile apps in Computerworld's Mobile Apps Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileMicrosoftAppleiosapplicationstelecommunicationmobile appsMobile OSes

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?