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iWork for the iPad: Productivity On-the-Go

iWork for the iPad

Well, I am sold. There is now a real reason to buy the iPad. As if all of the other functions weren’t enough (e-reader, iPod, photo viewer, browser, and more), I can now work on documents with complete ease.

The iPad appears to be a real productivity tool with the launch of iWork for the iPad. This is a completely new version of iWork according to Phil Schiller, designed specifically for the iPad. Each application has a gorgeous user interface designed to make it easy to either create slides, documents or spreadsheets. Further, each App also integrates the Media inspector for easy access to your photos and music.


From what we could see during Apple’s presentation, you can rearrange slides by pressing on each and then move them accordingly. In addition, there is a unique slide management feature in that you can tap multiple slides, and with a gesture, it moves the slides into a bundle. This should definitely be a timesaver for many folks. Lastly, we learned that the iPad also has an optional cable for connecting with a projector, making it easy to use the device as your primary presentation tool.


Like its desktop counterpart, you can create publications with standard text and images. However, you can also use gestures (pinch for example) to move images around the publications and more. What’s interesting about this feature  is that it could make placement possibly easier than using a mouse with the desktop version, as long as the proximity “drop” is accurate.


From what was demonstrated at the Apple Event, the iPad version of Numbers automatically displays fields and sums (which then infers what the output will be). Otherwise, this version seems relatively comparable to its desktop partner.

What is the bottom line (price and more)?

Interestingly enough, Apple is pricing the Apps individually at $9.99, instead of in a bundle like the desktop suite. This might change by launch time, although it’s a pretty reasonable price for each app, given the richness in functionality. Further, each app shares the desktop file format, so you can be sure not to lose any fidelity in your documents. And you can import Microsoft Office documents too. Lastly, these versions will allow you to email them in iWork ’09 and PDF formats.

As a sidebar, this is an interesting tactic for Apple given that on the iPhone, they’ve ceded document creation/editing to both Documents2Go and QuickOffice (which both only support Microsoft Office file formats). This is a bold step for them to broaden the availability of the iWork suite at such a reasonable price. I wonder if Microsoft is taking notice, and more importantly, I wonder if we’ll see versions for the iPhone too…

41 Responses to “iWork for the iPad: Productivity On-the-Go”

  1. Pigumon

    DGL- I agree, YOU can’t see what all the fuss is about. Take all the excitement people had for the iPod Touch/iPhone, all of that still applies to the iPad, but now it’s on a screen size that ANYONE can use, and it’ll be right at your couch or bed or toilet. You don’t need to be tethered to a PC anymore. FOr MOST people, they don’t need even the basic power of a desktop PC, they just need to check their email, facebook, websites to order a pizza, etc. The iPad can do all of this very well.. (well except for that flash fiasco, as bad as flash is, it’s everywhere…).

    My aunt & uncle would use an iPad, my grandma doesn’t use her laptop for anything more that solitaire, online banking, and checking emails for photos of her great grandkids, so she’s another perfect potential iPad user. Only my mom uses Excel sometimes, which she can do with Numbers. I have a desktop computer and use every ounce of it.. I don’t use my laptop anymore except for checking email and it’s become a hassle, it’s way too heavy and the battery dies too quickly; I’d much rather have an iPad.

    Once the developers start playing with it, they’ll start making killer apps, and the iPad (and clones) will become the norm for most people.

    (where the hell is the webcam though!!!!!)

  2. No printing from the iPhone was never a big issue for me. But the iPad is an entirely different class of device; I know at least some of the ways I will be using it, and printing will be an important part of that. Especially with Pages.

    I’m a university lecturer, and I’m planning on porting all my teaching documents to Pages on the iPad, but I will need to be able to print easily. I’m also going to make custom apps to replace my current marking and feedback forms… those must be printable. With that ability, I can see the iPad becoming invaluable in this environment – but with no serious printing solution this could be the first real ‘dropped ball’. I can live without Flash, but I can’t not give students and other staff printed documents.

    The logical and real-world-ideal way would be to use a basic laser printer driver (CUPS?) and print across wifi networks. Bluetooth is fiddly and doesn’t really seem to be a mainstream part of Apple’s vision, but wifi absolutely is. Apple, please don’t make me rely on running a print server app (third-party or otherwise) on my Mac just to be able to print! I’m not even sure that would work on the university network anyway.

  3. David McKendrick

    Does anyone know if the iPad/iWork will run video and hyperlinks as part of its presentations.. if so this could be awesome… if not, it will be rather lame.

  4. Sorry can someone please explain to me what the hype is about this product? Sure it allows you to edit documents, read stuff from the web and have a touch interface, but isnt that just a tablet? Sure its probably something new for Apple, but really I think I would prefer my current tablet with 3G built in with the ability to configure it with all the requests mentioned above. Sure it is better for reading things than attempting to read it on the iphone, but I cant really see me trying to fit this into my pocket on the train. So I cant really see what the fuss is about the new, exciting technology. Nothing new here… Just gimic.

  5. Bill Lefler

    So, how do I print my document I just created with iWork? Do I have to send it to another computer?

    This device is pretty near perfect for everything my wife needs to do on a computer – and she loves her iPhone. But, can she print from it or is that a big hassle?

  6. Viswakarma

    I am still using the 1st generation iPhone with quite a few productivity applications, and was planning on buying a MacBook Air. Now I will get a fully decked 1st generation iPad, since it has iWork!!!

  7. Is it possible that people are assuming too much when they mention bluetooth keyboards? I may have missed a bit, but I don’t recall Steve saying that. The spec sheet does not detail what bluetooth profiles are supported. After all, the iphone does not support HID (keyboards, etc.), whereas many smartphones do (i.e.–Nokias). The keyboard doc seems particularly ugly, especially given the elegant and tiny Apple bluetooth keyboards.

  8. If this is going to make a dent in the education sector it needs the ability to print natively not through a 3rd party app. If I were able to install Apple Remote Desktop for admin purposes, if it had a front facing video camera, if it were able to run OSX apps, if it were not 1024×768, if it had expandable memory, if it had just one USB port and supported expansion, if if if…I’d pre-order one. My guess is that in a year, after all the early adopters drop $500-$800 on the first generation, the second generation will have all these features.

    With that said, I’ll probably get one.

  9. Printing is the big one for me. If the device would print, it would be the ideal device for my parents, who are in their 80s and find the full multitasking mouse-drive interface a bit too much

  10. Pages – the one feature i really wanted! Yay. Great for a student such as myself. I adore Pages after having used the slow, ugly, resource-hogging Word for years.

  11. It will be a truly functional device if/when Apple gets serious about cloud applications and moves iTunes, iWork and iLife out on the cloud for real. (and I’m not talking like they have with MM today).

    Until then, it’s just another wanna-be gadget!

  12. Printing?

    File management?? Only by email or through iTunes (Starting to look like demoting iSync in favor of iTunes was BIG mistake)???

    Adding photos from your library:
    Aren’t you suppose to use iPhoto to manage your photos? But it’s a single user only database. Wouldn’t you have to duplicate all of your Business’s multimedia files in your personal iPhoto database to be able to do “Office” work on the road. How do you keep them synced?

    More info please.

  13. I don’t think printing matters. Any iwork app will print to pdf so you can emails it. And with dropbox you’ll be able to get anything anywhere and get impt docs synched with your computers.

    Great portable solution – easier to use on planes.

  14. Most likely, Apple thought it was too big to support a camera without considerable akwardness. If you have an iPhone with you, you already have a camera.

    For those of us with aging eyes, I can see a big advantage in having a larger device that’s still easy to carry around, and that has Mac-like functionality for $500 instead of $1,000.

    I have some friends who need new computers but who can’t afford an entry-level Mac. Since they don’t have sophisticated computing requirements I think the tablet might actually be better for them than a full-fledged computer, and I can finally get out of the virus eradication business that is such a pain.

    I also think trying to draw or paint graphics on this might be really cool with the new paint application that was demonstrated – that’s one thing this could do much better than a Mac.


  15. This is what I wanted. A device that switches on instantly (off standby) and quickly do what I want, then push one button to put it standby again but without the complexity and maintenance of a laptop or netbook.

    However, they should have included a front-facing camera. Also,

    I have an ‘iPad mini’ it’s an iPod Touch, but the way I use an the iPod Touch, the iPad will replace this. The screen size is important for me.

  16. i like this device a lot, especially the functionality iwork adds to the device. there’s only one thing holding me back and thats printing from the iPad. i’m working at a school and handing out papers all day. would be great to have a conversation with a student and print the papers they need while talking, instead of walking to the office 20 times a day. please let there be printing.
    besides this tiny little thing. well done Apple, beautiful peace of technology.

  17. David Weiser

    Apple, you continue to make really amazing 1st Generation products that change the playing filed. Kudos to you and all you engineer. I’m genuinely impressed.

    Well, I’m sort of interested, but……(there is a fatal flaw: No Webcam)

    There’s no camera on the back either for snapshots or movie taking.

    Seems like it would have been a no brainer to include.
    How could they leave out a front facing webcam?
    Does it support turn by turn navigation with VOICE? It would have been a killer app to include this on top of the new bookstore. It would virtually eliminate portable GPS devices and add $300 of value to this device. Maybe it does have this capability or will as I believe the iPhone solution is compromised.

    Will I get one? I honestly don’t know yet. I really don’t know. I own 2 laptops, 4 workstations, 2 netbooks, 2 iphones, more ipods than I can tally maybe 6?

    And if I get one, could I do without the 3G? I could really use one of these for my business I think if I could do RDP on it seemlessly, and access various corporate sites I need to access. If it had a webcam, it would have been another reason for me to purchase.

    Does it do Flash? Are there good applications now to allow printing from one of these? Why isn’t it webcam capable? That was a STUPID ommission. To the above comment:

    Yes you can use the iPad with existing bluetooth keyboards, it’s addressed on the Apple site which I’ve fully read.

    Maybe a really slick aftermarket webcam solution will appear if the SDK allows for it….probably not in the first release. Anyone agree? Disagree?

    • What ’bout BT-1 Blurtooth webcam?If it works w/IPad OS shoud be even a better solution for webconferencing,Skype etc.And is a nice alternative to buildin cam.Does anyone knows if that wireless webcam is compatible w?Ipad?

    • Jem Bunce

      I agree we should have a camera on the ipad. What I’m particularly interested to see is how they lay out Keynote on the ipad in presentation mode. I would really love to be able to present and navigate through slideshow with a swich of the finger and have 4/5ths of the screen displaying my presentation notes. I’d like this in portrait mode so I could have the ipad on a lectern and be able to see scaled down near A4 amount of text as Notes to go along with each slide. Anyone else there want the same?

  18. They better up their game in version 2 of this. i’m a crazy Apple fanboy, yet disappointed.

    I do see the advances they made for the market as a whole, but c’mon Apple.. we were expecting more.

    Anyways guys, be jealous.. I already got my hands on the iPad mini, and I use it every day. And it makes phone calls! hhahahah

  19. I was a bit blah about the iPad at first – I thought using iPhone software would be too limited since you really need to be able to do actual work on the device to justify paying the mid-bucks for it.

    Then I saw iWork – that’s pretty darn cool, and the alternative of the onscreen/physical keyboard looks like a great way of doing things.

    And the optional, pre-paid 3G data plan is really neat. I didn’t like the idea of having to pay $30 a month for as long as I used the device. But being able to by a month’s worth of access at $30 a month for when I plan to be on the road seems phenomenal – best of both worlds.

    So I will probably wind up paying $729 for the 32GB version with 3G even if I don’t use the 3G all the time.

    And I really like the keyboard design for Numbers – the numeric keypad with the next cell and next line buttons will actually be easier to use than a physical keyboard.

    I was always wondering why they started making their bluetooth keyboards so narrow, and I suspected it might have something to do with their use with a tablet. I was right! I wonder if you can use an existing bluetooth keyboard with the iPad.

    At the beginning I was wondering if this would be Apple’s second cube, but after seeing the full vision I think it will do outstandingly well. I can see it replacing computers for people I know who are not especially computer literate and need a relatively simple mix of functions. For me, I can see this as a great way to take some of my work on the road, while using my heavier desktop or laptop for serious computing.

    I definitely think current Netbooks will have to watch out!