Posts tagged with "iCloud"

iWork for iCloud Updated with Improved Collaboration, New Exports

Dan Moren has an overview of the changes Apple brought to iWork for iCloud today:

Several of the most prominent updates apply to all three of the apps in the suite: You can now have up to 100 collaborators in a single document at the same time—which hopefully won’t be too confusing—and you can choose from almost 200 new fonts. There are also additional options in the color panel, and you can finally create and format both 2D and interactive charts.

Apple has been making frequent and useful improvements to its iWork apps over the past few months. After reading about today's update for the web apps, I decided to check out the collaborative editing again, and it's now much better than what it used to be.

Once invited to collaborate on a document in iWork for iCloud, other users can edit their display name in a sharing menu; the name will be assigned a color, which will be shown as a cursor in the document while edits are being made in real-time. The experience is highly reminiscent of Google Drive for the web, and it worked well in my tests with a couple of other users. I could see edits in real-time in the browser, and I didn't end up with duplicates or dialogs asking me to “take action”.

I don't know if the collaborative changes were rolled out today or in the past few months, but I'm impressed by the progress that's been made so far and it's worth pointing it out. The native iWork apps for OS X and iOS still don't support the same real-time editing of the iCloud versions, which is why we can't switch to Pages full-time yet. I really like Apple's implementation of collaborative editing on the web (you can “jump” to a user's cursor by clicking their name), and I can't wait to have the same features on iOS.


Apple Updates iWork Suite with Design Tweaks, New Features, Sharing Improvements

In a series of updates rolled out today across, the App Store, and the Mac App Store, Apple updated its iWork suite of apps with design changes in the document editor, new templates, improved Retina display support, and several individual enhancements to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

On, the three web apps (which were last updated in January) have all received improved Retina display support and the possibility of opening documents directly from links in iCloud Mail. The document editor's design has been refreshed, and documents shared from can now be set to a view-only mode that won't allow recipients to edit them; previously, shared documents could always be edited by multiple users with access to a document's link.

Apple brought specific changes to each web app as well, such as improved popup menu support in Numbers and new templates, better text wrap, and the possibility to edit charts in imported documents in Pages. Read more

iCloud Tabs In Google Chrome For Mac

Two weeks ago, I covered CloudyTabs, a free Mac app to access Safari's iCloud Tabs from the OS X menu bar. For those who wished to have a more integrated solution for Google Chrome on the Mac, Thundercloud is a simple extension that, like CloudyTabs, reads Safari's iCloud Tabs and puts them in a popover. There are a couple of configuration steps to get the extension to work with Chrome, but they're explained upon installation and they're easy to follow.


CloudyTabs Puts iCloud Tabs In Your Mac’s Menu Bar



Since I switched to Safari as my primary browser, I’ve been enjoying the convenience of iCloud Tabs, which allow me to easily find webpages that I have open on my devices and re-open them anywhere, at any time. iCloud Tabs have been reliable and fast in my experience, and I cannot imagine going back to a browser that doesn’t have this sort of functionality.

The problem with iCloud Tabs is that they’re limited to Safari, so if you’re using Chrome or Firefox on OS X, you can’t access the tabs that you have open on your iPhone or iPad. For this reason, Josh Parnham has devised a simple and clever solution: CloudyTabs is a menu bar app that lists iCloud Tabs open on all your devices. CloudyTabs reads data from the .plist file that stores iCloud Tabs data on OS X, which is why the app isn’t available on the App Store and has been released on GitHub.

Once installed, CloudyTabs will need a few seconds to find open tabs and after that it’ll present a dropdown menu listing devices and webpages open on each one of them. You can CMD-click tabs to open them in the background in your default browser, and there’s a handy shortcut to open all tabs from a specific device at once. You can also type the first few letters of a tab’s title to select it.

If you don’t use Safari on OS X and wish there was a way to open iCloud Tabs without copying and pasting URLs, CloudyTabs gets the job done quite elegantly, and it’s free. You can download it here.

Apple Brings New Features, Design Changes To iWork for iCloud

In an update released earlier today, Apple brought various design changes and feature additions to iWork for iCloud, the company's suite of iWork applications for web browsers available at Today's update (the first since November 2013) focuses on collaboration, editing, Accessibility improvements, and bug fixes.

All of Apple's three web apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) have been refreshed with an iOS 7-inspired design that Apple first introduced to last year. The new design, however, has only been applied to the apps' document libraries for now, as the document editors retain the service's old user interface. From the main screen, it's now possible to view a list of shared documents you have access to by clicking on the clock icon in the top toolbar, which will display a "Shared with Me" popover, listing shared documents. The three apps have also received support for sharing documents protected with passwords, a feature that will be added to iWork's OS X and iOS counterparts as well.

The same new features were also added in terms of editing: keyboard shortcuts for object manipulation and support for floating tables (with formatting) are now available on, alongside other app-specific changes such as endnote editing in imported documents for Pages, or text flowing to adjacent cells in Numbers.

Apple first introduced iWork for iCloud as beta in October 2013, when the company also unveiled the next generation of iWork apps for OS X -- both of which were met with widespread criticism. Following the launch of the new iWork suite, Apple confirmed that it was listening to its users and promised to bring back old features to the Mac apps while rolling out updates to its iWork for iCloud public beta.

You can read the changelog of today's iWork for iCloud update below. Read more

Shared iCloud Photo Streams for Backup

On the same day, we got two good posts highlighting how Photo Stream works and why Shared Photo Streams can be used without the sharing part for photo backup purposes.

Ben David Walker:

Shared Photo Streams, however, can be used as both storage and backup for your photos. Yesterday, my friend Tom Klaver opened my eyes to this possibility by highlighting that, in spite of the name, Shared Photo Streams don't actually have to be shared with anyone. And unlike the standard Photo Stream, photos in Shared Photo Streams are never removed from iCloud. They are eternal. Apple offers a great cloud photo service with many benefits over other services, and it's hidden in plain sight.

And David Chartier:

You must manually create Shared Photo Streams and manually add photos and videos to them whether they are already in My Photo Stream, your Camera Roll, or, if you’re on a Mac using iPhoto or Aperture, from other sources like apps or the web. Like My Photo Stream, photos added to Shared Photo Streams do not count against your total iCloud storage (however, it sounds like videos do; Apple needs to clear this up too). However, the great thing about Shared Photo Streams is they do not disappear and never automatically dump older photos to make room for new ones.

I am going to try a shared photo stream, but the truth is that Apple needs to simplify a lot of things here. Photo Stream was bolted onto iPhoto on the Mac, there is no web app, and albums can be local on an iOS device and they don't sync but there are streams and, actually, you have two kinds of photo streams but only one is automatic and has limitations.

It's seriously confusing, and people don't have time for this. Cue Everpix.


The Dropbox Platform

At its first developer conference that kicked off today, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston announced the Dropbox Platform, a new initiative aimed at making Dropbox the "best foundation to connect the world’s apps, devices, and services".

Part of the Platform is the new Datastore API, which will allow developers of Dropbox-enabled apps to sync more than just files:

Our Sync and Core APIs already take care of syncing files and folders, but as people use mobile apps more and more, a lot of their stuff doesn’t really look like a file at all. It could be anything — settings, contacts, to-do list items, or the latest doodle you drew.

With the Datastore API, we’re moving beyond files and providing a new model for effortlessly storing and syncing app data. When you use an app built with datastores your data will be up-to-date across all devices whether you’re online or offline. Imagine a task-tracking app that works on both your iPhone and the web. If it’s built with the Datastore API, you can check off items from your phone during a cross-country flight and add new tasks from your computer and Dropbox will make sure the changes don’t clobber each other.

It's unsurprising to see various comments on how Dropbox Datastore looks like what Apple should have done with iCloud for third-party developers. Last month at WWDC, Apple acknowledged the issues that troubled iCloud's Core Data sync and promised several fixes coming with iOS 7 and OS X 10.9.

It'll be interesting to see if a new architecture based on drop-ins (components) that include (for now) a Saver and Chooser (for saving files to and picking them from Dropbox, respectively) will convince third-party developers of iOS apps to keep avoiding iCloud and embracing Dropbox. For as much as Dropbox improves upon its platform, key aspects of the iOS experience such as photos, videos, music, mail, contacts, and todos remain natively tied to Apple's iCloud service. Can Dropbox apps, developers, and users grow faster than Apple can improve iCloud? Assuming that iCloud will work reliably in iOS 7 and Mavericks, will developers of groundbreaking and innovative apps support both iCloud and Dropbox? How many platforms is too many?

Dropbox says they now have 175 million users; the latest number from Apple is the 300 million iCloud accounts shared at WWDC '13. A first result of the new APIs will soon be shown in an update to Mailbox, which Dropbox owns.