Apple has released updates to its iWork suite of apps, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, with support for iOS 11’s headlining features. There’s a commonality among the features added to each app that serves to tie them together more tightly than ever before while simultaneously making them easier to use with third-party apps. Numbers and Pages also feature a few additional revisions tailored to their specific functionality.
All three iWork apps support the new document browser, a file picker view that looks and feels just like the new Files app. Instead of being constrained to iCloud Drive or pushed into an app-specific folder, you can open Pages, Numbers, and Keynote files from any cloud service that is a file provider. All three apps were also updated to support drag and drop of text, tables, links, images, and other content between the iWork apps and to and from other apps on the iPad.
Apple also added more powerful shape manipulation features to the iWork apps. New Unite, Intersect, Subtract, and Exclude commands were added to make it easier to create custom shapes. Shapes can be broken apart into component pieces now. Apple’s support documents use the example of breaking the state of California apart from a map of the United States to use it by itself in an app. Shapes and other objects can also be arranged using new Align, Distribute, Flip Vertical, and Flip Horizontal commands.
Among the unique additions to the iWork apps, Numbers gained new keyboards for more efficient input including date, time, and duration keyboards and ‘smart steppers’ for making minor adjustments to those types of values. Pages also added a modest but handy gesture. Triple tapping a paragraph now selects an entire paragraph, something I wish more third-party apps supported.
I’m glad to see Apple adding iOS 11 features to the iWork suite on launch day. Adopting the latest technologies of its operating system encourages third-party adoption and serves as an example of how Apple expects those features to be implemented by third parties. It also brings new power and flexibility to each app for users, making them useful alternatives to apps like Microsoft’s Office suite.