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Apple Adds Real-Time Collaboration to iWork

Susan Prescott is greeted by Tim Cook during an Apple media event in San FranciscoSusan Prescott is greeted by Tim Cook during an Apple media event in San Francisco
Susan Prescott, Apple VP of Product Marketing, is greeted by Apple CEO Tim Cook.Beck Diefenbach — Reuters

It may not have generated as much excitement as some of the sexier announcements at Apple’s event on Wednesday, but the addition of real-time collaboration to Apple’s iWork apps definitely got attention.

Real-time collaboration has become a key selling point for productivity applications like Microsoft Office and Google Docs, and now Apple (AAPL) has joined the fray. Susan Prescott, vice president of application product marketing for Apple, conducted a live demonstration of simultaneous edits of a shared document on stage at the company’s big iPhone launch in San Francisco.

Moving iWork from “play” into “edit” mode, Prescott was able to work with off-stage colleagues (represented on screen by colored “bubbles”) to update a presentation on the fly. Each team member can add graphics, images, text at the same time and instantly.

iWork operates across all Apple iOS and Mac devices.

While the demo worked as planned (phew from Apple!), the company is definitely playing catch up here. Google has long offered real-time edits with Google Docs while Microsoft added real-time collaboration in its latest Office 2016 release.