Apple has taken the iWork suite of applications out of Beta status on iCloud, and now anyone can create an account and use Pages, Numbers, or Keynote for free. This is significant because now you can create, share and collaborate on documents, presentations, or spreadsheets even if the other person doesn’t have a Mac, iPhone or iPad. I have personally been very happy with the web versions of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers and have used each repeatedly in my web browser on my Windows machine.
Accounts are created by using a valid email address that is not already associated with an Apple device (if you already have created an iCloud account on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, you already have free access to these applications with your existing account). Just visit iCloud.com to create your account or login to an existing account. Once you login you will see icons for Pages, Keynote, and Numbers and you can instantly start creating and sharing.
Along with the free access to the fully featured web versions of the iWork suite of applications, users are also given a free 1gb of disc space to use on iCloud. If you have friends that don’t currently use Apple products and you want to show the quality of the applications, share a link. Even though I’m a big fan of Office 365, I personally find the iCloud apps much easier to use than Google apps. Since it is free to create an account, go for it if you currently do not own an Apple device and have been curious of the allure of iWork.
One of the biggest complaints I hear from iPhone users is that they often run low on disk space due to the amount of photos that they have stored on their device. Amazon today announced that Amazon prime members will now have unlimited storage in the Amazon CloudDrive app for full resolution photos. The Amazon App offers automatic background upload of your photos from your iPhone or iPad. Once the photos are stored on CloudDrive, they can be accessed on any device that has Internet access.
The Amazon CloudDrive back up of photos is being offered to all members of Amazon prime at no additional cost. If you are not currently a member of Amazon prime, a free 5 GB storage limit is still being provided. If you have been unable to upgrade your iPhone or iPad to the latest version of iOS because you are out of disk space, the option to back up all of your photos to Amazon CloudDrive would allow you to delete photos on your device knowing that you have full resolution backup copies in the cloud. Once you have your photos stored in the drive, you can delete the photos from your device and apply any updates that are waiting for you.
Although Apple offers iCloud backup of your photos, free space is still limited, and Amazon provides another option for you. If you are a Microsoft office 365 subscriber, Microsoft OneDrive also provides you with unlimited backup of all of your photos. Google Drive, and Dropbox also provide options for backing up photos if you are already a subscriber of one of those services. It is nice to see that several of the cloud drive services are offering easy ways to back up and preserve all of the photos from your mobile devices.
You can download the Amazon CloudDrive Photo backup app from the app store now.
Microsoft announced on Monday October 27, 2014, that its cloud file service, OneDrive, has been updated to allow unlimited storage to subscribers of Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft OneDrive was just updated earlier this summer to provide Office 365 subscribers with 1TB of cloud storage. This means that for as low as $6.99 per month, a user can have a full version of Microsoft Office installed on a desktop computer, use Microsoft Office on the iPad, use Microsoft Office Online, and have unlimited cloud storage of Microsoft OneDrive.
The storage update is being rolled out in phases beginning with Office 365 Home, Personal and University customers. Microsoft promises that the roll-out will continue over the next few months, with OneDrive for Business customers seeing unlimited storage in 2015.
Additionally, Microsoft announced enhanced Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Office 365. IT administrators will be able to set more advanced mobile device policies for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices running Office 365 beginning the first quarter of 2015. This will be done directly from the Office 365 administration portal, and will allow an Office 365 administrator to perform selective wipes of devices to remove only Office 365 corporate data (and leaving personal data intact), to set requirements of security (like pin access), and disable services if a Jailbreak or root is detected.
Microsoft also indicated that SharePoint and OneDrive for Business have been enhanced to provide advanced encryption of data at rest (while files are stored on Microsoft’s servers). Per-file encryption has been added, which means that every file stored on OneDrive for Business now has its own unique key, and any update to the file creates a new unique key. This means that even if an individual is somehow able to intercept the encryption key, it will only work for one file, and is only valid until that file is modified. Also if brute force is used to break the encryption of the protected file, each and every file has to have its encryption key broken separately.
These updates to OneDrive for Business and Office 365 further strengthen Microsoft’s offering in the cloud and office productivity areas. Microsoft is making it easier everyday to leave competing products from Google and DropBox behind.