Apple on Thursday updated its main iCloud website such that anyone, even users who don’t own an Apple device, can access Apple’s entire suite of iWork productivity software, including Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for free. Previously, such access was limited to Apple’s iCloud Beta website.
Initially introduced at WWDC 2013, iWork for iCloud allows users to create, edit, and share documents, presentations, and spreadsheets directly from within a web browser. For anyone nervous about leaving the comfy confines of Microsoft Office behind, it’s worth noting that documents created in Pages are fully compatible with Microsoft Word.
Users who sign up for Apple’s web-based iWork software are given 1 GB of storage to work with. If you set up an iCloud account and happen to have an iOS device of a Mac, you get 5 GB of storage.
Offering up the productivity suite to all users, regardless of platform choice, is a fairly unusual move for Apple, but it’s also a smart one – providing free cloud-based productivity software is a pretty low-stakes additional incentive for attracting new iCloud users, especially those who aren’t currently in possession of any actual Apple hardware.
Indeed, with the vast majority of Apple’s revenue coming by way of iOS and Mac sales, Apple has much to gain by expanding the reach and appeal of its software ecosystem. Historically, Apple has reaped the benefits of providing software and services for free and cashing in on resulting hardware sales; the iTunes/iPod juggernaut being the most obvious example.
An Apple FAQ on iWork for iCloud can be viewed over here.