Apple Updates iWork, Including Smart Annotation with Apple Pencil (in Beta)

Apple Pencil and iWork

Apple updated iWork Tuesday during its “Let’s Take a Field Trip” event in Chicago—or, as The Verge brilliantly put it, “Apple Remembered iWork Exists.” Snark aside, Apple rolled out several improvements to its iWork suite, including drawing, book creation, a beta for Smart Annotation (i.e. support for Apple Pencil), and more.

Apple Pencil and iWork
Apple Pencil and iWork Smart Annotations

From Apple’s press release:

For the first time, users will be able to draw, sketch or write with Apple Pencil directly in the Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps. With Apple Pencil, advanced yet easy-to-use tools allow all users, from students to professionals, to bring their documents to life with drawings, illustrations, diagrams and more. Apple Pencil can also be used to easily and precisely add color, texture and more to any drawing.

Apple Pencil can now be used to draw, sketch or write in Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Smart Annotation, launched today in beta, is an innovative new tool in Pages that allows users to easily give, receive and incorporate feedback in a document using Apple Pencil. With Smart Annotation, comments and proof marks will dynamically anchor to text. And as a user integrates feedback and the document changes, remaining annotations will stay with the text they were attached to.

iBooks Author Subsumed Into Pages

Apple also announced that its standalone iBooks Author software was being integrated into Pages itself. This means users will be able to make an ebook compatible with Apple’s iBooks directly within Pages. According to Apple:

Users can start a book using a variety of templates, and then customize it with drawings using iWork’s new drawing tools or with image galleries and videos from their Photos library. Users can collaborate in real time with their classmates or colleagues to create books together on iPad, iPhone, Mac and Books can then be shared and will display beautifully in iBooks.

Presenter Mode

Another new feature in Pages is Presenter Mode, which allows text to autoscroll at an adjustable speed. Text size and font are also controllable during playback.

Minor Update

It’s great to see iWork get any love at all, even though these are minor updates. I’m hoping this is a signal that Apple is back on track with regular updates to this suite of excellent tools for Mac and iOS.

2 thoughts on “Apple Updates iWork, Including Smart Annotation with Apple Pencil (in Beta)

  • It’s an update for stinky iPads. Again, Apple has its head way way up there. The Mac is what needs love. Loathsome, insulting in being underwhelming is what comes to mind. Basically they screamed to the world “We noticed we’re losing education, we cracked it! Rehash lame pencil into lame cheap old tech iPad. COURAGE!” Pathetic.

    1. Apple should have just had a touch screen for a cheap laptop (like Windows and ChromeOS/Android)?

      Once you add the pencil and keyboard without a trackpad, it’s upwards of $700. Way above what the competitors have with trackpads, all-in-one devices.

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