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Summary:

The iWork.com team at Apple sent out an e-mail to registered users today touting new accessibility from Apple mobile devices and more sharing options for all. However, the biggest feature, really the only feature that matter — editing documents — remains missing. Carefully not introduced as […]

The iWork.com team at Apple sent out an e-mail to registered users today touting new accessibility from Apple mobile devices and more sharing options for all. However, the biggest feature, really the only feature that matter — editing documents — remains missing.

Carefully not introduced as an online productivity suite designed for collaboration, the iWork.com beta site has existed as little more than an online repository for sharing iWork documents. The only real advantage over simply e-mailing documents has been the ability to comment via sticky note and downloading in multiple formats.

More than a year later, the changes have been minimal, and that may be exactly the way Apple wants it.

As of today, “iWork.com allows you to share a document by creating a public link” with an incredibly long URL. However, accessing the public link does not allow the adding of comments or notes. Sharing documents is a little more efficient with a single page for doing so and a counter indicating the number of views for the document.

The other change, likely in anticipation of the iPad, is something that iWork.com should have included from the beginning: a mobile interface.

The new interface has “improved scrolling” and supposedly helps you “find your shared documents faster.” Unfortunately, what it does not do is show comments and notes, making the value of iWork.com even more dubious, if that’s possible. It’s becoming more and more apparent that an online version of iWork akin to Google Docs may not be coming at all. After all, Apple has never suggested iWork.com was meant for anything more than sharing, rather a collaborative online productivity suite was just logically assumed.

Well, the new logic is even simpler, that being iWork.com is cloud storage for the iPad. With the announcement of a native version of iWork for the iPad, iWork.com makes a lot more sense. Instead of syncing with iTunes to transfer documents to your computer, you upload them to iWork.com, hopefully with an option to synchronize in the near future. Apple gets $10 for each iWork App for the iPad and gives away the online storage.

Those waiting for iWork.com to leave beta status and be useful may get the former on April 3, but don’t count on logging into iWork.com and editing documents anytime soon.

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  1. Wake me up when documents can be edited online.

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  2. Sounds about all I need honestly anyway. I hate the idea of google docs, never really used it because I don’t see the point in online-editting.

    Being able to get/share out my docs online is all I’m really looking for, so this looks to be pretty sufficient for that.

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    1. Apple has decided to go the App Store route, at least for now, and for now I think it’s the right move. However, it’s not just Google Docs we are talking about online. Microsoft, which bases a large part of its business model on desktop office applications, is currently running a trial of “lightweight” office applications on the web. It might be several years, but eventually fast connections and web apps are going to take the place of dedicated desktop productivity applications.

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      1. Rick Mahmoud Saturday, July 3, 2010

        Needless to say I work on a Mac but 100% of my co-workers around the world use PCs. I consolidate the creation and proliferation of presentations (which I use keynote for) that will be eventually be presented to clients around the world by our field service reps. My reps can’t download keynote docs on their PCs neither the PPT version ’cause keynote and ppt are not entirely compatible and the presentation when converted in to PPT gets out of whack and most of the animations are gone. And if their only option is to download and print a fixed PDF version, why is the point of creating animated presentations? iWork should allow people on the field to be able to not just look (and sure, download the PDF if they want) but also iWork should show the keynote presentation as the keynote application does. Kind of keynote-online but without the ability to create and edit. That way, apple’s application key features (editing and creating) are safeguarded but allowing my reps to simply be able to get their laptops connected to the internet at the clients’ offices and show the presentation in their PCs via their browser (and/or by hooking to a projector) while logged into iwork.com with all the visual beauty and impact of application.

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  3. I agree, I too don’t see the point in online editing. I mean, look at how complex a Pages layout can be. I don’t see a web application capable of matching that complexity in the near future.

    Sharing the documents is useful because it allows my clients to see the docs and post comments, and iWork.com works pretty well. The commenting system is almost real-time, it’s working like a chat. Thats really awesome.

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  4. My feeling is that long term the iPad’s appeal is going to be limited by the need to have a home computer of whatever flavour. Cut that umbilicus and it really does start to become a netbook killer. With limited physical connectivity, the cloud is the saviour to Moses’ Tablet. That being the case, Apple needs to a) raise the game of iWork.com and b) get that new data centre online pronto.

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  5. [...] Apple adds new sharing feature to iWork.com; debuts redesign for… Apple's iWork.com makes it easy to share your document with large groups, websites, and social networks…iPad-related BlogsStraight Talk in User Groups « Big Men On ContentSocial Networking: 5 Ways to Grow Your Social Network – Online Marketing BlogBloggers Create Social Network Via Snail Mail – PSFK#37 – Laugh With Them (Tips For Large Group Teaching) « Dad in the MiddleiWork.com Beta Updated, Still No Editing [...]

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  7. I like iWork’s simplicity. I find commenting more useful than editing when working on group projects in school. I don’t really see the point in Apple trying to replicate Google Docs with iWork unless they could make it significantly better.

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  8. [...] two years in beta, and with the release of the now best-selling collection of iWork apps for the iPad, the future of [...]

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