Apple makes iWork for iCloud beta free on Windows, Linux, Chrome OS

Add another option to the freely available online productivity software suites: Anyone can sign up for and use Apple’s iWork for iCloud, even if they don’t have a Mac or iOS device. The open access is actually in beta, so to use it, you’ll have to head over to beta.icloud.com, according to BetaNews, which reported the news.

icloud web

Previously, if you visited the beta site for iCloud, you had to do so from [company]Apple[/company] hardware to create a new Apple ID. The key change here is that now you don’t need a Mac, iPhone or iPad to create that ID, which is your golden ticket to the iWork suite of Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Browsing to the iCloud beta site from a [company]Microsoft[/company] Windows PC, Linux box, or [company]Google[/company] Chromebook, for example, now lets you create your Apple ID, which can be any valid email address. Signing up for the Apple ID from non-Apple hardware will also net you 1GB of free iCloud storage for documents and data.

Why would Apple bother opening up the Apple ID creation process, offering a small bit of cloud storage and free access to its productivity suite? While the company is a leader in the smartphone and tablet markets, there’s nothing but up side for it to open up cloud services and software to a larger audience.

Those who have never used OS X, iOS or any Apple hardware could test the waters to see what Apple has to offer. If they like the iWork suite, that could lead to browsing for a device that can use the software, which could turn into a hardware sale. And with the Apple ID creation, Apple adds yet another contact to its growing database of users, where it can gently remind them how well its hardware works with its software, encouraging a trip to the Apple Store nearby or online.

Apple’s Pages for iOS still needs some work

As more professionals are eschewing laptops for iPads, Apple needs to seriously step up its game with its iOS iWork offerings. Lack of parity between iOS and OS X iWork apps is beginning to become tough to handle.

Hands on: iWork Documents in the Cloud

With the release of OS X Mountain Lion on Tuesday, and updated versions of the iWork apps (which also now have Retina display support) I can finally sync and edit files across all my Apple devices. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to set this up.

Hands on: Retina-optimized iWork apps

Some of the first productivity-oriented apps that have been upgraded for the new iPad’s high-resolution Retina display are Apple’s own iWork apps. Here are our first impressions of how presentations, spreadsheets and documents in Keynote, Numbers and Pages fare on the new tablet’s display.

How to create iCloud-stored iWork files on OS X

When I wrote about Documents in the Cloud, one of my chief complaints was that the only way to upload and download files on my Mac was through the iCloud web interface. Turns out there is a way, thanks to an easy backdoor trick I discovered.

iOS 5: Documents in the Cloud

Of all the iOS 5/iCloud announcements made during this summer’s WWDC, the one that excited me the most was Documents in the Cloud. Unfortunately, it’s also turned into the one that disappointed me the most at launch, thanks to a number of issues.