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Add another option to the freely available online productivity software suites: Anyone can sign up for and use Apple’s iWork for iCloud, even if they don’t have a Mac or iOS device. The open access is actually in beta, so to use it, you’ll have to head over to beta.icloud.com, according to BetaNews, which reported the news.
Previously, if you visited the beta site for iCloud, you had to do so from [company]Apple[/company] hardware to create a new Apple ID. The key change here is that now you don’t need a Mac, iPhone or iPad to create that ID, which is your golden ticket to the iWork suite of Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Browsing to the iCloud beta site from a [company]Microsoft[/company] Windows PC, Linux box, or [company]Google[/company] Chromebook, for example, now lets you create your Apple ID, which can be any valid email address. Signing up for the Apple ID from non-Apple hardware will also net you 1GB of free iCloud storage for documents and data.
Why would Apple bother opening up the Apple ID creation process, offering a small bit of cloud storage and free access to its productivity suite? While the company is a leader in the smartphone and tablet markets, there’s nothing but up side for it to open up cloud services and software to a larger audience.
Those who have never used OS X, iOS or any Apple hardware could test the waters to see what Apple has to offer. If they like the iWork suite, that could lead to browsing for a device that can use the software, which could turn into a hardware sale. And with the Apple ID creation, Apple adds yet another contact to its growing database of users, where it can gently remind them how well its hardware works with its software, encouraging a trip to the Apple Store nearby or online.