During its education-centric event this morning in Chicago, Apple announced a long-awaited update for its iWork office suite that will include, finally, support for the Apple Pencil, among other updates.
According to a press release from the company, Apple is updating iWork – which includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote – after what seemed like an eternity.
Not only does Apple Pencil functionality open the door to features that one might expect – drawing and note taking, for example – but this functionality is paired with a new feature called Smart Annotation. When editing a Pages file, Smart Annotation will allow teachers to anchor their edits and comments to text within the documents.
“For the first time, users will be able to draw, sketch or write with Apple Pencil directly in the Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps,” reads the press release. “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.”
Pages on iOS and macOS is also getting a new book creation feature, along with Presenter Mode. Book creation is fairly straightforward, as it will allow students to create interactive digital books, perhaps adding some extra depth to a short story or a project. Presenter Mode, on the other hand, can turn Pages and the iPad into a teleprompter students can use while giving presentations to their class.
“iWork is a powerful suite of apps designed for iPhone, iPad and Mac that is used in classrooms around the world,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Apps Product Marketing. “With Apple Pencil support on iPad, the new Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps now let students bring a whole new level of creativity to their documents, spreadsheets and presentations, while the innovative new Smart Annotation feature gives students the ability to give, receive and incorporate feedback easier than ever before. Students can also use the built-in, real-time collaboration tools available in iWork to explore and learn together.”
These updates, particularly Smart Annotation, could make Apple Pages a tempting product for educators as Apple hopes to regain some of education market share away from Google.
Apple also announced a new, low-cost iPad aimed at educators and students alike.