Apple is throwing the doors open to its online iWork suite, even for people who’ve never purchased Apple hardware.
The browser version of iWork—now 18 months old and still in beta—has always required an iCloud account. But until now, Apple hasn’t let people create an account without an iOS device or a Mac. As BetaNews reports, Apple’s iCloud site now offers a way to create an account straight from the browser, providing access to web versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote.
Of course, using those programs doesn’t make as much sense without Apple hardware. Through iCloud, Apple can automatically sync your documents to iPhones, iPads, and Macs, and the recent Continuity feature for iOS and OS X lets you quickly pick up where you left off when switching between devices.
Why this matters: If you have no intention of using Apple hardware, the iWork suite will still be a tough sell. While the stripped-down design is appealing, it’s missing some features that you’d find in other suites such as Microsoft Office and Google Drive. (One sticking point for this web journalist: There’s currently no way to add hyperlinks to text.) And without native apps for Android and offline editing in Windows, you’re not exactly encouraged to live outside of Apple’s hardware boundaries.
That said, Apple has added more collaboration features to iWork over time, so it makes sense for non-Apple users to an access point to those shared documents. And who knows? Maybe the simplicity of the software and the promise of Continuity will bring a few more people into the fold.