What’s New in iWork for iCloud for Apple Classrooms?

Hot on the heels of the recent updates to iOS versions of iWork and iLife, Apple have today announced some new features for their iWork for iCloud suite of online productivity tools. Recently I wrote about how educators could share and collaborate in iWork for iCloud, but as useful as this was, there were still some areas where you would hope for some improvement. Today, Apple addressed some of those issues.

iwork for icloud

The biggest changes are in relation to collaboration on documents. You can now see who is collaborating on a document with you, and where they are in the document. You can also jump to where a collaborator is in the document by clicking on their name in the collaborator list. In addition, printing and folder support has been added. 

Of course, Google has had these features for a while now, but Apple’s willingness to play catch up is clearly evident and hopefully a sign that they are looking to match or better the best that Google has to offer. A full list of changes can be seen below:

Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for iCloud beta:

  • Collaborator list: View the list of collaborators currently in a document.
  • Collaborator cursor: See cursors and selections for everyone in a document.
  • Jump to collaborator: Instantly jump to a collaborator’s cursor by clicking their name in the collaborator list.
  • Collaboration animation: Watch images and shapes animate as your collaborators move them around.
  • Printing: Print your documents directly from the Tools menu.
  • Folders: Organize your documents in folders.

Numbers for iCloud beta:

  • Reorder sheets: Change the order of the sheets in your spreadsheet, right in your browser.
  • Links: Create links using the HYPERLINK function.

Keynote for iCloud beta:

  • Skip slides: Right-click any slide in the navigator to skip it during playback.

 

Source: Apple via Engadget

What’s New in Pages, Keynote and Numbers for iOS Classrooms?

Recently, I wrote about the latest updates for iMovie, iPhoto and Garageband. However, the iLife apps were not the only apps to get a refresh. Pages, Keynote and Numbers also received important updates. These touch optimized office apps are default apps for a lot of iPad schools, simply because they are great for creating digital content. So, in this post we take a look at just what you can expect in the latest updates for Pages, Keynote and Numbers.

Pages

pages for iOS

• Stunning new user interface designed to match iOS 7
• Over 60 Apple-designed templates
• Your most important text formatting options are right in your keyboard, and always just a tap or two away
• Use comments and highlights to share ideas and feedback with others
• Animate data with new interactive column, bar, scatter, and bubble charts
• Use AirDrop to send your document to anyone nearby
• Quickly and easily share a link to your work via Mail, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook
• Anyone with a shared document link will always have access to the latest version of the document and can edit it with you at iCloud.com using Pages for iCloud beta
• Turn your documents into ebooks by exporting to ePub
• New unified file format across Mac, iOS, and web makes documents work seamlessly everywhere
• Turn on Coaching Tips for guided in-app help
• Pages is now available in Arabic and Hebrew
• Improved support for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean

Keynote

keynote for ios

• Stunning new user interface designed to match iOS 7
• New animations and effects including updated Magic Move, Clothesline, and more
• New Apple-designed themes
• Animate data with new interactive column, bar, scatter, and bubble charts
• Use AirDrop to send your presentations to anyone nearby
• Quickly and easily share a link to your work via Mail, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook
• Anyone with a shared document link will always have access to the latest version of the presentation and can edit it with you at iCloud.com using Keynote for iCloud beta
• New unified file format across Mac, iOS, and web makes presentations work seamlessly everywhere
• Turn on Coaching Tips for guided in-app help

Numbers

numbers for ios

• Stunning new user interface designed to match iOS 7
• Brand-new Apple-designed templates
• Animate data with new interactive column, bar, scatter, and bubble charts
• All-new calculation engine for fast performance
• Use AirDrop to send your spreadsheet to anyone nearby
• Quickly and easily share a link to your work via Mail, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook
• Anyone with a shared document link will always have access to the latest version of the spreadsheet and can edit it with you at iCloud.com using Numbers for iCloud beta
• Export to CSV
• New unified file format across Mac, iOS, and web makes spreadsheets work seamlessly everywhere
• Turn on Coaching Tips for guided in-app help

Now that both the iWork and iLife apps are free, Apple have some compelling reasons for schools to choose iOS devices. On top of that, the new iWork for iCloud adds yet another dimension. There are also some big updates for iMovie, iPhoto and Garageband, so it will be interesting to see what the future holds for these popular apps.

iWork for iCloud Beta: Hands on With Apple’s Answer to Google Drive

iCloud Home

This week I got an email from Apple inviting me to try out the Beta version of iWork for iCloud. I was keen to see how useful this could be for educators in the classroom, and whether or not it could be a serious contender to my current favorite online productivity suite – Google Drive. So, I logged in to iCloud with Chrome on my Mac and there they were – Pages, Numbers and Keynote – complete with all the documents I had created on my Mac and iPads.

Keynote Slide

The interface is familiar, yet different. The menus are a hybrid of the desktop and iOS version of iWork, but they are intuitive enough that you can almost always find what you are looking for without too much trouble. You won’t find all the features you are used to in the desktop (or even iOS) versions, but more functionality will doubtless come in time, and most of the essentials are included in the beta version.

iWork for iCloud runs on Mac or PC and is compatible with the latest versions of Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer. For some reason, Firefox is not a supported browser right now, but if you click past the warning messages it does seem to run as you would expect it to in other browsers, so it will likely be supported once it leaves the beta stage of development. iWork for iCloud is an HTML5 environment which Firefox is obviously more than capable of running.

Syncing has worked great, but I have never really had a problem in the past moving between documents on my iPad and my Mac, so that didn’t surprise me too much. Changes made on the web, my Mac, and my iPad were all quickly synced to the other devices.

Pages

Does it beat Google Drive? Not yet, for me at least. iWork for iCloud works well, but right now it still lacks some collaboration and sharing options that I have come to enjoy with Google. For instance, real-time collaboration can be a great boon for teachers and students, as can the ability to leave comments on a document. There are no signs of either appearing in iWork any time soon. That said, the ability to share a link to your document is listed as “coming soon” so the potential for improvements in this area does exist.

Numbers

If you are curious to check out more about what iWork for iCloud can and can’t do, you can check out the newly created Apple online help guides, even if you don’t have access to the Beta program at this time. The links for those are below:

UPDATE: Another important support page to read is Opening iWork for iOS and iWork ’09 documents in iWork for iCloud Beta. This gives more information on what to do if you try to open a document that has features that are unsupported in the current version of iWork for iCloud. Thanks to Kathy Schrock for the heads up on this one.

Have you been playing with the new iWork for iCloud Beta? What do you most like about it and how do you think it could fit into your classroom workflow?

How to Create Your Own Free iPad Templates for Keynote

The recent update to Keynote, brought the ability to import presentations complete with master slides and preset styles. So, this got me thinking. How could I take advantage of this new feature? Well, here is a simple, but straightforward way to do just that and create some free iPad templates for Keynote to supplement the 12 themes that Apple gives you as a default on the iOS version. If you already have the desktop versions of Keynote, or PowerPoint, this method will cost you nothing at all!

Start by opening Keynote, or PowerPoint, on your Mac/PC and choose a template for your presentation. It does not need to be any longer than one slide. Next, you need to add that presentation to your iPad. (Mountain Lion users can save it to iCloud, but you can also email it to your iPad or save it to Dropbox and Open in… Keynote).

Repeat for as many templates as you would like to bring over to the iPad, and organize them by creating a folder for these new templates, like in the image below. You can group presentations together on the iPad version of Keynote simply by dragging one on top of another to create a new folder. I went a step further and renamed each presentation to the name of the original template, but this is optional.

Free Keynote Templates for the iPad

Now, these aren’t new templates in the strictest sense of the word, because once you start editing one of these, it will automatically save your new content, so here is what you need to do. DUPLICATE the file before you start working on it and work on a copy of the original template you brought over. You do this by tapping Edit in the top right hand corner, tapping the presentation you want to duplicate, and then tapping the duplicate button, (see below).

Duplicate Templates in Keynote

Rename your newly duplicated presentation by tapping the name under the thumbnail and then open it when you are done. Before the latest Keynote update, the user would go to add a page to a PowerPoint file, and be greeted with eight blank slide layouts that rarely matched the theme. However, when you go to add a new slide to your presentation now, all the original master slide layouts are an available, (see below).

Adding new slides in Keynote iPad

Simply repeat ad nauseum, and when you get tired of the presentation templates you have, go find some more! The new Keynote for iOS is great at bringing over those master slide layouts, although I have noticed it works a lot better with Keynote than it does with PowerPoint. It will still give you some nice new slide layouts for PowerPoint, but not nearly as many as you get with an imported Keynote file.

Are there apps available in the App Store that do very much the same thing? Yes, but none for free, and the one I have opens a default presentation with over 40 slides. I need to delete the ones I don’t want, and duplicate the ones I do. This takes away some of that hassle and gives you a bunch of free iPad templates for Keynote that you didn’t have before! 🙂