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First look: Keynote for iCloud

updated 08:00 am EDT, Thu July 4, 2013

Keynote for iCloud defines Apple's vision for web 3.0

Yesterday we took a look at the Pages for iCloud beta and were highly impressed by what Apple has achieved with its word processing and publishing application. It looks and works very much like a desktop application and pushes the envelope for what has previously been achieved with an entirely web-based app. Keynote is the next of the three iWork for iCloud beta apps in our short series looking at Apple's new iWork for iCloud suite of web apps. Is it possible to recreate a presentation app in the cloud with the full power of a desktop presentation app? It doesn't seem likely, but then it didn't seem likely that we would see what a web-app like Pages for iCloud can do in a browser.

Incredibly, Keynote for iCloud is even more impressive than Pages for iCloud. It really is jaw-droppingly good. As with Pages for iCloud, web-based apps are hardly what one might describe as being 'sexy,' but Apple has done an awfully good job doing exactly that. Creating a presentation in Keynote for iCloud is just as easy and just as natural as creating a presentation for Keynote for the desktop. Even though it is in beta form, it is already a very powerful presentation development tool. You can easily and quickly develop a presentation in Keynote for iCloud that everyone viewing it would assume had been created with a native desktop application.

When you launch Keynote for iCloud for the first time, you are presented with a range of pre-set professional templates, just as with the desktop version. Although the interface differs at present, it is possible that the next versions of the Mac and iOS versions will be updated to follow a similar design and layout approach. Regardless, having access to these templates gets you off to a quick start - or you can use a blank page if you choose. The templates also work very organically, allowing you to move and alter elements to suit your particular requirements. You really do have to do a double take to tell your brain that is happening in the cloud and via a browser.

We have already seen some of the image editing tools in Keynote for iCloud that are also shared with Pages for iCloud. Images can be dragged and dropped into the web app from the desktop and manipulated in a range of ways. Borders, shadow and opacity effects are a snap to use, while positional and spacing guides appear to help you position your image in exactly the spot that you want to move it to. You can add frames with different styles, control the width of the frames, masks, shadows and the direction of shadows and other effects. It is genuinely impressive. The ability add text and shapes, while also having full formatting capabilities means that there is virtually no element that you can't control to your liking.

The unquestionable highlight of Keynote for iCloud is the way that the web-app handles slide transitions. Just as in a native desktop app, there a wide range of live slide transition effects that can also be controlled and set at your discretion. You can set each slide transition to its own duration and also choose whether the transition will be automatic or manually triggered with a click. To cap things off, the transitions look and work exactly the same way as they do in a native desktop application. You can preview the slide deck and make further fine adjustments as necessary. And, like Pages for iCloud, it is compatible with MS Office, while files can be exported in Office formats as well.

Keynote for iCloud is pure innovation and a perfect example of Apple at its absolute best. It is exactly the same kind of Apple that we have all previously associated with the late Steve Jobs -- the type of Apple that many had wondered was still possible following Jobs' untimely passing. As Apple has done repeatedly in the past, it will leave the competition scrambling to play catch up. This is Apple skating to where the puck is going to be, not where it's been.

By Sanjiv Sathiah

First look at Pages for iCloud

Keynote for iCloud 'Welcome' screen




Keynote for iCloud templates




Keynote for iCloud UI




Keynote for iCloud transition effects




Keynote for iCloud transition effects in action





By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Fonejacker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-11-10

    While this app looks great, its biggest problem is security. My company will never use Cloud-based anything due to the fact, the American Government will have private and confidential corporate info, two seconds after its been uploaded to the Cloud Servers. It might be fine for private users, but corporations want security first. I hope Apple release a desktop version as well.

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    Whither iWeb...?
    Could this be on the roster ?

    And a second vote for privacy and against cloud computing here...

  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 03-22-04

    Cloud-based-anything can be just as secure (or insecure) as most corporate networks are now.

  1. SierraDragon

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 03-22-04

    Exactly how "web-based" will the app be? Will the app continue to function locally on a device even when internet connection is broken?

    I asked this question after the Pages review yesterday and one poster said no, cloud-based apps fail when there is no internet connection. There are however degrees of connection required. Adobe's nasty new Creative Cloud approach, for instance, does not require always-on connection to the internet; just monthly connection and always-pay every month or lose it all.

    Exactly what happens to real work in progress when the internet connection is lost is perhaps the most critical part of any review of a cloud-based application. Will the app work transparently when out of range (like Adobe CC)? Or does work stop in total the instant web connection is lost? Or something in between? Are files stored only in the cloud, or stored locally and synched to the cloud? Is cloud synch manual or automatic, and if automatic how often? Etc.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Bobolicious: no iWeb ever. Move to Wordpress like the rest of the world (don't mean to be blunt, but the writing's been on that wall so long it's starting to fade!)

    SierraDragon: you are, like a lot of people, confusing iWork for the Cloud with the iWork Suite on your Mac. They are not the same thing. Your iWork apps will continue to function without an Internet connection, and thanks to this iCloud version are now likely to be updated in the future.

    The iCloud version exists as a convenience. Perhaps someday that will be the only version of the iWork apps, but not any time soon. Think of iWork for iCloud in the same way you think of the webmail version of your email account.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Fonejacker: your company is being, IMO, quite naive if they think that simply not using any cloud service keeps their data from being known to the US government. I'd say you'd have to -- at a minimum -- get off the Internet entirely for their goal to even begin to be true.

  1. Fonejacker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-11-10

    Chas_m: We are not naive, just aware of the insecure Internet. We simply do not use the Internet for our data, we use external hard drives, in various locations. Other companies use tape-based systems. We only use the Internet for emails etc. Governments can not be trusted. Maybe it's you being naive, if you think Politicians and civil servants are honest and truthful. Your mobile phone company and ISP has handed over to the US Government every phone call, every email and every web site you have visited, including this one. How does that may you feel? Land of free? Land of the spied upon. So much for the 4th Amendment.

  1. coffeetime

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 11-15-06

    I use cloud based stuffs all the time. They are only a back of what you have locally and a convenient way to access your stuffs from anywhere. The files exist locally on your hard drive even internet is down. I can still edit files with my desktop application of Keynote. When internet comes back up, my file will be automatically updated in the cloud.

  1. bdmarsh

    Junior Member

    Joined: 02-17-06

    SierraDragon: as another has mentioned, this is entire a web page based app. Adobe CC is a subscription license for regular desktop apps (there are some cloud components - like shared storage that wouldn't work without internet).
    So these iCloud.com based apps will not work without an internet connection.
    Use the $20 each Mac App Store versions of Pages/Keynote/Numbers if your internet is not 99.99% reliable.

  1. David Esrati

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-10-99

    I just want themes that work on the iPad.
    Fonts seem to be the biggest problem.
    Create a prezo on the mac- and then can't use an iPad to show it- lame.

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