Keynote Is a Feature Presentation of iOS 7

Among the (many) announcements at Apple’s October 2013 event was the updating of iWork for iOS, now free for any existing users and those who purchase a new iOS device. One of the last bastilles of leather and wood effects, iWork was completely revamped and brought in line with iOS 7.

For PowerPoint refugees and anyone wanting to easily create slick presentations that are gorgeous to watch, as well as build, Keynote is a great example of how Apple can really push the boundaries of what is possible with iOS.

Feature Presentation

Keynote, like the rest of the iWork suite, has been completely revamped for iOS. All three apps (Keynote, Numbers, Pages) have the same interface and look & feel as each other, providing a uniformity that is welcome when previous iterations were focusing too much on linen and stitched leather.

Keynote's interface is far more refined and focused.

Keynote’s interface is far more refined and focused.

iWork, and Keynote especially, emphasise just how good the iOS 7 revamp can be as there is nothing distracting or taking away from the main purpose of the app – to create. While some may lament the lack of buttons and gradients, Keynote already feels much more focused than it ever has done — it feels like a serious app.

Unlike the iPad version, there is no dedicated help button on hand to overlay explanations of all the control. For the smaller iPhone screen, a separate help guide is available via the settings, not as easy or fluid as the overlays, but necessary for the smaller display. You’ll likely use this option once or twice, just to get a feel for it. After that, Keynote is ridiculously easy to use.

Adding animations is much simpler and easier on the iPhone's smaller display than before.

Adding animations is much simpler and easier on the iPhone’s smaller display than before.

Keynote, as does the rest of the iWork suite, works best with iCloud and it’d be counter-productive to use the app without it. All of your presentations are easily laid out in a grid, though begin to use Keynote regularly and you’ve no option to search for items, something that seems sorely lacking.

New Presentation

Keynote includes many more templates to choose from than previously, with each being professionally designed and looking great. Just select a template and start editing it to suit.

Keynote's number of themes has increased, offering even more quality templates.

Keynote’s number of themes has increased, offering even more quality templates.

The new look of Keynote makes creating new presentations a lot easier, especially on the iPhone. This is a great app to use in a pinch though it probably isn’t ideal to be regularly creating new presentations simply due to the smaller screen.

Creating and editing presentations is very easy, though regularly creating new ones on the iPhone's smaller display can be difficult.

Creating and editing presentations is very easy, though regularly creating new ones on the iPhone’s smaller display can be difficult.

Adding transitions and manipulating text, images and other graphics feels much improved, with the app feeling just more refined for a touch interface. The app includes many styling effects, such as text shadows and colours, as well as making it far easier to insert photos. Menus pop up almost as soon as you tap an item, letting you edit data or directly access animation settings.

Speaking of transitions, there are plenty more including some more graphical ones that look stunning. When iWork was first released on the Mac, some of the effects that are now present within the app weren’t available to everyone as it required a powerful Mac to process them — how times have changed.

There are plenty of transitions available, including some that used to be the reserve of high-end Macs.

There are plenty of transitions available, including some that used to be the reserve of high-end Macs.

Tabulated and graphical data, such as pie charts, work wonderfully, providing the rich experience that iWork has always been known for. The interaction of adjusting tabulated data is still a little fiddly, especially if you’re new to it, as there is no help information within the app on how best to do it. You’re left to your own devices as to how best to change it.

Sharing

As Keynote syncs all presentations via iCloud, you’re able to access them on any other iOS device, Mac or PC through iCloud.com. The sharing button in the toolbar, a new addition in this version of Keynote, provides a way to not only share on iCloud.com or any of the previous methods (such as iTunes or WebDAV), but a dedicated Open in Another App option is now included, providing a way to send a compressed copy of your Keynote to other apps, such as Dropbox.

Keynote is able to share to other iCloud users for collaborative editing as well as to 3rd-party apps in a variety of formats.

Keynote is able to share to other iCloud users for collaborative editing as well as to 3rd-party apps in a variety of formats.

Pricing

Keynote is free for existing users and anyone purchasing a new iOS device. For everyone else, it’s still $9.99.

A lack of 3rd-party app support was always a problem for many potential users who wanted a way of getting presentations out of Keynote without having to rely on iCloud.

Conclusion

Apple has brought Keynote up to the same level as the Mac equivalent, making the choice between using them more about the form factor you’d prefer than what you’re expecting to get out of it. I can find no discernible difference between them and there was nothing I could do with the Mac version that I couldn’t do with iOS.

As someone who creates presentations on an irregular basis, I would always go straight to my Mac to make any quick edits. I’d tried Keynote for iOS previously with mixed results, trouble manipulating content and the user interface were off-putting, forcing me to revert to my preferred method of iWork for Mac.

Now, I can easily edit a presentation from my iPhone without needing to boot up the Mac due to the easy to use interface and focus on content since Keynote just feels like something built for touch.


Summary

Apple's flagship presentation app for iOS is fully updated for iOS 7, offering some great usability improvements and a great all-round experience.

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