Apple Brings iWork to iPhones, Making a Case for iCloud

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Apple’s iWork suite is now available on iPhones and iPod Touches, and it’s free for users who already have the iPad versions.

iWork consists of three programs: Pages for written documents, Numbers for spreadsheets and Keynote for presentations. Each app costs $10. There’s no discount for buying them all at once, but as universal iOS apps, they don’t cost any extra to own on both an iPad and an iPhone. The apps have been updated on all platforms to include a better file manager, letting users arrange documents and drop them into folders.

But now that iWork is available on all iOS devices and on Macs, there’s still one major missing feature: the ability to easily sync files across devices.  If you want to share a document from iWork, your options are to upload the file to MobileMe’s iDisk service, use the public beta for iWork.com, send the file by e-mail or transfer it through iTunes. None of these options let the user sync files automatically to the cloud. What iWork really needs is an online repository, so the files are always available from any device.

I’ll be shocked if Apple’s upcoming iCloud doesn’t address this issue. We don’t yet know what this service will provide, but rumors suggest that it’ll include online storage, a digital music locker and a way to store all your iOS activity on the web. A way to automatically store and retrieve spreadsheets and presentations seems like an obvious addition.

We’ll find out on June 6 whether it’s going to happen. If you must have automatic document syncing right now, Documents to Go or mobile Google Docs will have to suffice.

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