May 14, 2014, 3:31 PM — This is the second in a series of three reviews covering the major online productivity apps -- Microsoft Office Online, Apple iWork for iCloud, and Google Drive (aka Google Docs or Google Apps). Welcome to iWork for iCloud and its three component apps: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for iCloud.
Perhaps the most striking thing about iWork for iCloud is that unlike Office Online and the Google Drive suite, it has clearly been built as a whole from the ground up. Office Online inherits its DNA from Microsoft Office, which itself grew in Frankenstein fashion over many years. The Google Apps resemble Office 2003 in an uncanny way; they, too, have odds and ends grafted on the side. Both remain saddled with old-fashioned interfaces, and even old-fashioned notions about what constitutes a document or a spreadsheet or a presentation. With iWork, Apple takes a fresh approach.
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Unlike Microsoft and Google, Apple doesn't draw a distinction between personal and corporate use of its online suite. If there's a way to actually pay for iWork for iCloud, I haven't found it. Apple used to sell iOS and OS X versions of the iWork apps, but as of September 2013, they're free for those who buy new Apple computers. Also unlike Microsoft and Google, Apple notes that its online apps are currently in beta.
Getting started with Apple's iWork for iCloud is much like with Office Online and Google Apps. Just go to icloud.com and log in with an Apple account (7GB free iCloud storage for signing up). Like Office Online and Google Drive, iWork for iCloud officially supports all four of the major browsers.