In another notable announcement ahead of the 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple has revealed that its iWork productivity apps are now universal binaries meaning that, in addition to an iPad, they can now be used on iPhone (3GS and 4) and iPod touch (3rd and 4th G). The price of the individual iWork apps - Keynote, Pages and Numbers - is still the same and existing iPad iWork app users will now be able to use the apps on any other compatible iOS devices they may own thanks to a free update.
In a press release, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, Philip Schiller says, "now you can use Keynote, Pages and Numbers on iPhone and iPod touch to create amazing presentations, documents and spreadsheets right in the palm of your hand. The incredible Retina display, revolutionary Multi-Touch interface and our powerful software make it easy to create, edit, organize and share all of your documents from iPhone 4 or iPod touch."
But no matter how many pixels you cram into the iPhone's or iPod touch's display, it's still only 3.5-inches, which probably won't make these devices the first ones you'll be reaching for when you're looking to create a presentation, text document or spreadsheet. Particularly when you take into account half the screen will be taken up by the onscreen keyboard unless you have a physical Bluetooth keyboard handy. Thankfully the display will automatically zoom in on the area of the document being edited, so an iPhone or iPod touch will serve in a pinch for making last minute edits to a documents.
However, anyone looking to do anything more intensive on the go would be advised to at the very least invest in a Bluetooth keyboard or better yet, shell out for an iPad. After all, there is a reason these apps have been sitting near the top of the highest grossing apps list in the App Store since their release, and it's not just their premium price tag.
More useful on the smaller iOS devices is the ability to share documents via the tools button on the toolbar and print documents wirelessly using AirPrint. There's also improved document management through the use of thumbnails, which can now be organized into folders using gestures. While probably not enough to justify the price of admission if you're only planning on using the apps on an iPhone or iPod touch, but certainly handy for existing users of iWork on the iPad or Mac.