Apple has made its iWork for iCloud.com service which is essentially an online extension of its iWork Office suite, available to all users, after initially offering it to select developers and iCloud users.
Through the service, users will be able to access, edit and save their documents through web browser based apps. The documents would be synchronised over the Internet to their iCloud accounts and stored online.
The service is available on Windows and Mac devices alike and is supported on Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Apple's Safari web browsers.
While Apple hasn't made an official announcement about the availability of the service, it can be accessed by simply visiting the icloud.com website and logging in to your Apple ID.
Following the rollout, iCloud users will now see icons for Pages (a word processor), Numbers (a spreadsheet tool) and Keynote (a presentation tool) in their iCloud dashboards along with the usual Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Reminders and Find My iPhone apps.
The three new services bear the beta tag, which means that Apple is still testing the cloud based office suite and there could be bugs and performance issues.
The iWork for iCloud.com service was first announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference
along with iOS 7, OS X Mavericks and new Apple hardware, in June.
The major advantage that the service has over its competing options is certainly its interface. For users who are used to working on the iWork suite, it will certainly be more comfortable using Apple's web service. During the demo at WWDC, Apple's Roger Rosner showed how slick it was to add an image to a Pages document simply by dragging the image icon to the application in the browser.
What is interesting to note is that Apple has supported documents from competing applications such as Microsoft Word with iWork for iCloud. According to Apple's claims, despite being browser based, the web-based suite is 'fully-functional'. It is interesting that the Keynote application can play back presentations right from the browser and that too with the same kind of fluid animations that we generally see on the desktop and mobile versions of the app.
It's not clear if the service will remain free when it graduates from beta.