Facts about iWork for iCloud

6 07 2014

Since October 2013, shortly after Apple’s Keynote event, iWork for iCloud is available as a beta version going along with a redesign of it’s components Keynote, Numbers, and Pages. The iOS 7 adapted productivity tool is now free for new purchased devices.

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iWork for iCloud now allows working on documents across all kind of devices even on devices of other vendors. This works with every any browser like Safari, Google Chrome, or Microsoft Internet Explorer after signing in to iCloud with your Apple ID on iCloud com.

Use copies …

It’s always good to have a copy.

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Resolve conflicts …

If you use iWork on more than one iOS device and activated syncing via iCloud conflicts might occur if one of the devices you are working on is temporarily disconnected from the internet. In this case the document is saved locally on your device but cannot be updated in iCloud.

There seems to be a problem with iWork documents if one of the iOS devices wasn’t connected to the internet when editing a document.
But don’t panic. There is a way to fix it in a jiffy.

Just keep both versions of the document and decide later which one you finally want to keep.

This method of resolving conflicts is much more sophisticated than resolving conflicts which might occur in other apps like e.g. ByWord, a simple markdown text editor where you only can keep one version.

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And Apple wouldn’t be Apple if there would’t be more:

Edited documents are saved to iCloud along with a *history of the edits* you made. So when you open the document on another iOS device, you can undo individual edits, just as if you made them on that device.

If an iOS device is not connected to the internet a local copy of an iWork document is used to allow editing.
If you finish your work and the internet connection is still not available you will see an up-pointing arrow on this document in the documents overview. It means that the document is waiting for an upload to iCloud. The arrow disappears if your device connects to the internet again via WiFi or a cellular connection.

File sizes …

I myself use iWork for iOS extensively.
File sizes always matter if it comes to your iCloud data plan (5 GB for free), your data plan you fixed with your mobile provider, and the memory of your device.

So here are some average values for the ZIP files of iWork documents …

App Content File size
Keynote 100 slides 100 MB
Numbers 2 tables 1.1 MB
Pages 10 pages 3.5 MB

Notes

Keynote
The ZIP file of the mentioned Keynote presentation consists of 489 single files, primarily images.
Numbers
The ZIP file of the mentioned Numbers spreadsheet consists of 11 files with 4 tables and 2 images.
Pages
The ZIP file of the mentioned Pages document consists of 21 files with 10 pages, a table, and 5 full-page images.

Go to Settings – General – Usage and you get a list with you installed apps and the amount of memory they use on you device. If you extensively use the presentation tool Keynote keep an eye on the used storage, Keynote is a cormorant space eater if you extensively make use of images.

Exporting iWork documents …

If you use ‘Send a copy’ or ‘Open in another app’ for an iWork document you have to choose a format (e.g. for Numbers, PDF, Excel, or CSV within the app Numbers).

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If you choose the native iWork format for Keynote, Numbers, or Pages the app then generates a ZIP file. It contains the document, images used in the document, and a further ZIP file index.zip which contains properties of all objects you created in the document.

This is quote different from former versions of iWork which produced a single file with the extensions .keynote, .numbers, and .pages. The reason is the new collaboration feature of iWork for iCloud. It needs to save all objects separately to check whether they have been changed or not.

And it’s quite different from Microsoft Office documents which can only be edited by a single person.

This file can be easily opened on all devices running on iOS or OSX.
If you want to open Apple’s proprietary file format from within a cloud client app like Microsoft’s OneDrive client just choose ‘Open in Another App’ and then select the appropriate iWork app.

Syncing ….

iWork sync documents via WiFi or Cellular connections.
Go to Settings – iCloud – Documents+Data and at the end of the list you will find the option ‘Use Cellular Data’ to turn syncing via Cellular networks on or off. If you have a small sized data plan or work on large file sizes it’s recommended to set this option to OFF.

Optimizations …

I already explained that each iWork file is split into a set of files which allows improved collaboration features as well as performance improvements.

See what happens if you open an iWork app which files have been edited on other devices.

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In a first step you only can see the file names and after downloading the preview images iWork looks up file sizes so that only small files are immediately downloaded and others are downloaded not until you want to look into the content or edit it.

iCloud security …

iCloud secures your data by encrypting it when it is sent over the Internet, storing it in an encrypted format when kept on server (review the table below for detail), and using secure tokens for authentication. This means that your data is protected from unauthorized access both while it is being transmitted to your devices and when it is stored in the cloud. iCloud uses a minimum of 128-bit AES encryption—the same level of security employed by major financial institutions—and never provides encryption keys to any third parties.

iWork documents are part of the ‘iCloud – Documents + Data’ section in ‘Settings’ for your device. Documents are encrypted at a minimum of 128-Bit AES in transit (when sent over the internet) and at rest (when stored on Apple’s servers).

When you access iCloud services using Apple’s built-in apps, authentication is handled using a secure token. Using secure tokens eliminates the need to store your iCloud password on devices and computers. Even if you choose to use a third-party application to access your iCloud data, your username and password are sent over an encrypted SSL connection.

Summary …

I’d like to think Apple products are perfect and (not surprisingly) they obviously are (with some resyrictions). A powerful new approach to collaborative working. Apple’s ecosystem got a forward-thinking improvement.

Related links …

iWork to AirPort

iCloud, a paradigm shift

iWork and Sharing

Apple: iCloud Security

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





iOS 8 Beta

9 06 2014

When introducing iCloud services on June 6, 2011, the roadmap for Apple’s vision about device connectivity was already quite clear.

  • Seamlessly connect all devices.
  • Use standardized data structures to support syncing between computers and mobile devices.
  • Assimilate the UIs of computers and mobile devices to seamlessly work on either of them.

Connectivity only makes sense if people use more than one device.

This is the case in businesses, families, and it’s also valid for many single users purchasing both kinds of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets.

iCloud is the global hub of Apple’s powerful services.

If you remove all iCloud related features Apple devices are demoted to phones and data processing machines for which the old-fashioned tasks of syncing, transferring files, and backing up have to be done manually.

The WWDC 2014 …

With the WWDC 2014 (June 2, San Francisco, Moscone Center) further essential steps to a unique user experience were made and Apple set the milestones for the future usage of their electronic devices.

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The device you use doesn’t matter, it’s just the task which matters.

WWDC 2014 is the 25th event which began in 1990 with 1,300 developers. Tim Cook presented some stats showing us that there are over 9 million registered Apple developers in 2014 – that’s up 47 percent since 2013 – and the youngest developer at WWDC was just 13 years old.

Apple’s developer conference again unveiled the power of the company in offering vertically integrated and seamless to use devices and services as well as a perfect infrastructure for partners, the developers.

iOS is one of the two most dominant platforms for mobile devices with Android in the pole position if you just look on market shares.

Regarding a product line-up which includes computers AND mobiles it can be said that

iOS and OSX together are the leading software technologies for processor-based devices regardless of any stats.

Apple’s sophisticated ecosystem including all the powerful apps will be massively improved by the new features announced for iOS 8. This all can be called a disruptive concept for using processor-based technology and device connectivity via cloud services.

Seoul, start your photocopiers

But copying won’t help because there never was a vision running like a golden thread through all the activities and technological developments of Apple’s competitors. Neither Google nor Samsung can compete with Apple because most of their services are based on stand-alone developments which require deep-sea diving into countless help articles to successfully administrate them all.

As an Apple user just go to Settings and turn on iCloud.
That’s it.

Fandroids again may argue: It’s all copied.

Let me tell you the truth about just one example which could be brought forward from people just looking on the screen layout:

Desktop widgets (commonly just called widgets) are interactive virtual tools that provide single-purpose services such as showing the user the latest news, the current weather, the time, a calendar, a dictionary, a map program, a calculator, desktop notes, photo viewers, or even a language translator, among other things.

Everybody should know that these tools were already introduced decades ago on Apple’s Macintosh computers, are available in the notification center of iOS 7 and iOS 8 now provides APIs for third-party widgets.

iOS 8 features …

I summarized what Apple published on its websites shortly after the event in San Francisco.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts for iOS (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

See this magnified part of map and a preview of what you get when you download the DOCX file format.

Note

If you don’t use a mind mapping tool it’s recommended to download the DOCx file format which immediately can be opened with Apple’s Pages. The document contains the map as an image, textual information, and referred hyperlinks. Just tap on a link from within Pages to open the article.

iCloud …

iCloud already got a significant improvement in October 2013 when Apple introduced iWork for iCloud.

The new iCloud Drive will be a unified file system bridging iOS and OSX.

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At the time Apple gives you 5GB free storage and this will not be changed. It’s for storing documents, photos, device backups, and application data. 5 GB is a little on the paltry side if you extensively use iCloud e.g. on an iPhone and an iPad. I use an iPhone (23.8 GB used) and an iPad (30.9 GB used) and had to update my storage plan with additional 10 GB to save device backups on iCloud.
Cormorant space eaters on my devices are photos (2.5 GB), Keynote presentations (2.3 GB; mainly collages for my blog), mind maps (1.5 GB), and PDFs stored in iBooks (2.8 GB).

How much will it cost if more storage is needed?

For just $1 a month, you’ll get additional 20GB and for $4 per month you’ll get 200GB. As a point of comparison, that $48 a year is just slightly more than the $40 a year you currently pay for 20GB. Apple says it will have tiers all the way up to 1TB of storage.

iCloud’s new pricing plans compete with …

Provider GB $/year
Dropbox 2 free
100 100
200 200
OneDrive 7 free
100 50
200 100
Google Drive 15 free
100 24
1000 120
iDriveSync 5 free
150 49.50
500 149.50
Box 10 free
100 60
unlimited 180

And here is the ranking …

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What should be mentioned is that costs are just one criterion. Please note that iDriveSync is the only provider offering client-side encryption during transit (sending and receiving data) and at rest (saved data on servers of the provider).

Swift for yield hedging …

iOS is still the preferred platform for developers offering mobile apps. Apple’s App Store is a heavy weight champion when it comes to quality and quantity of apps for mobile devices.

To keep the quality and acquire even more creative young developers Apple is apparently offering a much faster and more effective means of building software applications with an “interactive playground,” significantly improving on its own Objective-C.
The new programming language Swift will use the same LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine) compiler and runtime as Apple’s Objective-C implementation, and its simplified syntax gives it an easier learning curve. The reason behind introducing Swift was to make it easier for developers to create apps for Apple’s mobile platform. Apple Developers write codes line after line and then compile those results to see output, but using Swift language they can see results in real time instantly while writing their codes.

My suggestion for the developers of the official Google+ app:

Try out Swift.
Maybe it helps to bring some stability into an app crashing daily since months.

Some tidbits …

  • Per App Battery Usage
    Another feature that has been part of Android since its inception and extremely useful at that, will finally make its way to iOS 8. Apple did not mention this during their keynote but it will be part of the iOS when it is released. Users will be able to see which app is draining the battery and take relevant action.
  • AirPlay
    won’t need Wi-Fi in iOS 8, it can use a form of peer-to-peer networking. This means an Apple TV should be able to connect to your iPhone even when both devices aren’t on the same wireless network.

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  • AirDrop
    will now work between iOS devices and Macs, meaning you can exchange files on an ad hoc basis between the two, without the need for an Internet connection or even being on the same local network. Need to get a photo to your Mac from your iPhone or want to send a PDF from your Mac to your iPad? Just fire up AirDrop.

Apple’s move …

Let’s dispense with the preliminaries. The WWDC 2014 confirmed a move in Apple’s strategy of controlling what’s going on if a device is in use.

I found this excellent article published by the well-known Apple evangelist Jonny Evans on Computerworld.com.

It’s not about ‘Made in Cupertino’ any more:
the new Apple is all about PARTNERSHIP.

… here’s a few ways in which today’s Apple conceded it doesn’t want to control every aspect of your experience – it just wants to ensure it secures the environment to make sure it’s platforms are platforms you can use:

  • CarPlay
  • Third party app support in iCloud Drive
  • Massively improved integration between iOS and OS X
  • Support for third party Widgets for Notification Center
  • Support for non-Apple apps in iCloud
  • DuckDuckGo support in Safari (OK, that just accentuates how much more secure Apple is than its troublesome mobile foe)
  • Third-party keyboard support
  • Health app, which works with third party devices
  • Support for third party devices for the smart home (HomeKit)
  • added by me
    API to access functionalities of Touch ID ( Apple’s implementation of a fingerprint scanner)

All of these moves are explicit moves that mean Apple is answering critics who call it “too controlling” by permitting users a hitherto unprecedented environment in which they can work with the devices they choose. It’s also a shot in the arm for developers, who can now work to develop their own solutions and have these underpinned by the secure power of Apple’s ecosystem.

Note
Jonny Evans is an independent journalist/blogger who first got online in 1993 and began writing about Apple in 1999. He’s author of Computerworld’s AppleHolic blog and writes on numerous tech topics here in the US and UK. Jonny has no shares in any technology company, enjoys new and disruptive technology and likes music almost as much as he likes his large and shiny dog.

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Stay tuned and join Jonny’s Appleholics Kool Aid Corner on Google+.

Summary …

Since WWDC 2014 Apple is turning over a new leaf when it comes to developer relationships. MacWorld’s headline ‘A love letter from Apple to developers’ hits the nail right on the head. It’s seems to be a win-win-win situation for Apple, developers, and customers. The WWDC 2014, iOS 8, and OSX were the biggest steps forward since the opening of the App Store on July 10, 2008. The gap to competing platforms – operating systems and stores – approximates to the depth of the Mariana Trench.

Related links …

iCloud, a paradigm shift

Apple’s Ecosystem

App Development + Marketing

WWDC 2014 Apple puts its fighting boots on

About my preferred mind mapping tool …

iThoughts, …

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





iWork and Sharing

28 05 2014

Apple’s iWork applications (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) save files automatically on iCloud and sync them across all your devices. With iWork on iCloud you can also access documents via browsers (Safari, Chrome, IE) without using an Apple device.

If you save a spreadsheet on iCloud, you can share a link to it with others. Recipients can open and edit the spreadsheet in a supported browser on a Mac or a Windows computer, and see all the changes others have made. Collaborators don’t need an iCIoud account to view and edit documents.

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iCIoud keeps your spreadsheet up-to-date across all your iOS devices, your Mac, and the web, so you and your collaborators always have access to the latest version.

Sharing a link …

If the document is open, tap ‘Share’ (top right), then tap ‘Share via iCloud’. Select an option for sharing. The full link appears in the body of an email, a SMS, or a Twitter or Facebook message or just copy the link to the clipboard to use it elsewhere.

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Any further edits you make to the document after you shared it are visible to the recipients of the link. The link remains the same. The only thing you have to do is to notify the recipients if a newer version is available.

Using a password …

An iWork document has only one password. If you already added a password, that password applies when you share a link. If you haven’t added a password, you can add one, then share.

  • With the spreadsheet open, tap on Tools, then tap Set Password.
  • Enter the password in the Password field, then enter it again in the Verify field.
  • Enter a hint to remind you of the password if you forget it.
  • Tap Done.
  • Tap on Tools, tap Share and Print, then tap Share Link via iCIoud.
  • Tap the method you want to use to send.
    The tull link appears in the body of the email, tweet, or post.</em

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Any further edits you make to the spreadsh after you share it are visible to the recipient of the link. Be sure to notify collaborators of the password so they can open it, even if you shared the spreadsheet before adding a password.
If your spreadsheet is already being shared, you can still add a password to it. Be sure to notify collaborators of the password so they can open the spreadsheet.

Resend a document …

You can share a spreadsheet link as many times as you wish.
With the spreadsheet open, tap Tools, tap Share and Print, then tap View Share Settings. Tap Send Link, then choose Mail, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook. Enter the requested information (for example, an email address or Twitter account).

Turn off iCloud sharing …

With the spreadsheet open, tap Tools, tap Share and Print, then tap View Share Settings. Tap Stop Sharing at the bottom of the pane.

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File formats …

If the recipient receives a link to a document the can choose the proprietary file format of iWork, that of Microsoft Office, or the Adobe PDF format for a download.

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PDFs can easily opened in Apple’s iBooks which offers the best reading experience.

The running iWork in iCloud …

iWork, Apple’s office suite for OS X and iOS, allows working on documents across all devices.

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Here is an example:

  • 1 On an iPhone I entered the text ‘Edited on the iPhone’ in a presentation managed by Apple’s app Keynote.
  • 2 Some seconds later a message pops up in iCloud opened on a Windows PC with Google Chrome. After accepting with ‘OK’ the document is accessible in the updated version.
    Note
    Don’t get confused with image 2. It was taken with my iPad while remotely connected to a Windows PC in the office.
  • 3 After entering the text ‘Edited on a PC’ in the browser-based version of iWork it appears on the iPhone after some seconds without any message.

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The image above shows the UI when working with a browser.
Learning difficulties: None.

Using an additional cloud storage …

In contrast to many other apps for file management iWork doesn’t support predefined cloud storages like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. If you want to save iWork documents to other cloud accounts than iWork you have to use a WebDAV connection.

My post
WebDAV Basics
explains this protocol for communicating with remote servers.

Not all cloud providers support a WebDAV connection.
Since years I personally use Box and iDriveSync as additional cloud storages.
iDriveSync offers a secure solution since Feb 2013 because it works with client-side encryption, that means, only you have the key to encrypt and decrypt files. Your documents are encrypted already in transit and later on at rest on iDriveSync’s cloud servers. Box is working on a comparable solution.

Here are the WebDAV addresses of both competitors:

They can be used to save iWork documents via WebDAV.

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The steps …

  • 1 Tap on the action control (top left) in an iWork app.
  • 2 Select ‘Send a copy’.
  • 3 Select a document.
  • 4 Select ‘WebDAV’.
  • 5 Enter the URL given by your cloud provider (e.g. https://dav.box.com/dav).
  • 6 Enter you credentials.

iWork displays the folder structure. Select a folder for saving your document.

Restrictions …
iWork only supports the saving of documents. You cannot manage your files and folders.
So you need a file management app, either the native app of your cloud provider or a tool like FileBrowser with which you can access different accounts and move files between folders and accounts.

Notes …
1 If you share a link to a document saved on iCloud, recipients *cannot use mobile browsers* to edit the document on iCloud. He only can download it, work on it and send it back via mail. To avoid conflicts with your original document on iCloud it’s useful to save and share it on a different cloud storage.

This complicated workflow should be improved by offering a way to let recipients collaborate on iCloud documents even if they are on mobile devices.

2 If you create important documents you can use the ‘Copy’ function to always have a backup of each document on iCloud. This reduces your available space and it might be necessary to upgrade your iCloud plan. Saving a copy on a different cloud storage via WebDAV takes far less space on iCloud.

3 If you prefer to use Microsoft’s XLSX file format recipients also can access documents when using other mobile platforms.

Summary …

Again Apple provided useful features embedded in a simple but perfect UI.

Related links …

About WebDAV

About clouds

About iDriveSync

About file management

Thanks for paying attention.