More proof that Apple’s premium iWork/iLife iOS suite could go free

By , Jul 9, 2013

iWork (Mac, iOS, iCloud)

Apple for years offered iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand iOS apps as a $4.99 download each.

On the Mac, those apps which comprise the iLife suite come bundled with new Mac purchases and Apple’s been very actively advertising them as one of the reasons people switch to the Mac.

As for the iWork productivity suite – comprised of the Pages word processor, Numbers spreadsheet maker and Keynote presentation creator – users are expected to pay $19.99 each on the Mac side and $9.99 each on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Some watchers think the advent of the free iWork for iCloud web apps with full editing capabilities (currently in beta) may signal Apple’s intention to make the entire iWork suite a free affair, giving people one less reason to consider rival platforms. Today, a German blog has discovered an interesting change in the first-run App Store screen in the latest iOS 7 Beta 3 that surprisingly adds individual iWork/iLife apps as free downloads…

The German blog iFun discovered the screenshot below that offers a chance to download Apple’s previously paid-for iOS apps Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iPhoto and iMovie for free. This is a first for these apps as the screen in the past offered only Apple’s free apps like iBooks, iTunes U and Podcasts.

“It would make a lot of sense given it’s hard to imagine Apple allowing users to create documents for free on iCloud but not seamlessly transfer from iOS to Mac without having to throw down $30 for the three iOS apps”, 9to5Mac’s Jordan Kahn remarked.

iOS 7 Beta 3 (App Store first-run, free iLife and iWork downloads)

The possibility of free of charge iWork and iLife iOS apps was first speculated on by Mark Gurman, who in a rare opinion piece posted earlier this month over at 9to5Mac hinted at uncorroborated whispers claiming “Apple has been discussing ways to make its iWork for iOS and Mac apps free at some point in the next year”.

This wouldn’t be unheard-of.

Last month, Apple at WWDC announced iTunes Radio, a Pandora-like service offered free of charge in exchange for some ads, in stark contrast to Google’s Play Music All Access $9.99 a month subscription service.

iTunes Radio will be released as part of iOS 7 this Fall. As for Google, the company back in May officially promised to bring All Access music streaming to iOS “in the coming weeks”.

iWork for iCloud Beta (web screenshot 001)

Apple has revealed intent to bolster up its productivity offering by revealing iWork for iCloud during the WWDC keynote. Currently available as a beta for Apple’s registered developers, the suite, similar to Google Docs and Office 360, allows users to view and edit iWork, and other documents right from their browser, supporting rich web interface and full editing capabilities.

Last week, Apple made the web suite available to its employees for personal use.

iWork for iCloud (Pages 001)

As for iWork/iLife, in a world where Google continues to make inroads in desktop and enterprise productivity with its Google Docs suit of free or affordable offerings, and with Microsoft betting on a subscription-based model with Office 365, Apple needs to offer a better value to customers looking to edit documents or organize their media on the go.

And what better way to keep them glued to the platform than offer these premium offerings free of charge to anyone who purchases an iOS device.

Clever move, indeed.

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  • Willie

    i hope i get a refund or something

    • Tommy Latsch

      Why would you get a refund? your using it now. If it becomes free it won’t be till iOS 7 comes out. So you have used it for another 3 or 4 months.

      • Ian Jackson

        I love how people think that they are entitled to a refund when a service goes free. That’s like saying everyone that bought The Orange Box in 2007 is entitled to a partial refund since 2011 because Team Fortress 2 went free which simply Is not true. You paid it, so suck it up and keep walking.

      • AK

        That’s reuoode :(

    • Heitor Castro 

      So I’d like to get a refund for each app I’ve purchased that gone free. That sounds like a joke.

    • Damian W

      The only way you could be entitled to a refund is when you purchased the app a day or so before it went free. End of story. Other than that, you probably used the app for years so you paid for what you have used.

      • Mohammad Ridwan

        Well, I bought Infinity Blade II, a day before it went free…. And I don’t think I’m entitled to a refund… It’s conscious purchase I made… The developers have the rights to change price….

      • Damian W

        Me too. I bought it for one buck which is like free giveaway almost. I would be pissed if I bought it for 20. Apple is a big company with a reputation to maintain unlike devs of infinity blade. Also keep in mind that infinity blade has a promotion due to 5 year anniversary. The app will be paid in few days again.

  • At

    I hope this is true, I’m going to be needing these come fall.

    • Ian Jackson

      Don’t forget about beta.icloud.com :P You can use a “lite” version of the suite.

      • At

        I just get routed to a page to set up icloud, install find my iPhone and find my friends. I don’t see anywhere to install or use a “lite” version of iWork. Is it mac only? I’ve only tried on my iPhone.

      • Ian Jackson

        It’s a web version of the suites. You can create documents and stuff and it works fine on my macbook Air. I’ll try booting up my windows machine and see what happens. EDIT: They’re coming up on my screen and can open all my Pages, Numbers, and Keynote docs on Safari and Firefox AND Chrome on my windows machine. It does pop up and say it may not be compatible, but it still works okay. You should log in and they pop up as soon as you log in. Maybe you had to sign in at a certain time or something, idk. I don’t have a dev account.

  • Chuck Finley

    Hahahahaha using iWork. What a joke.

    • Maxim∑

      you obviously haven’t used iWork…

  • Nihas Nebas

    i was on ios 6.1.3 . updated to beta 2, then installed beta 3 ota.. and got my package of free ilife and iwork applications..

    • Damian W

      Lucky you man. I think you did not restore phone from backup and it was just a fresh install. Right?

      • Nihas Nebas

        no.. i was running ios6.1.3 for a long time after ununstalling the beta 2 just 3 days after its release cause while rebooting my phone wouldnt start up… i just updated to beta 2 with the ipsw … and then ota beta 3 … when i launched appstore after that i got the same window as in the picture

  • Timothy

    Pages for iOS is much more powerful and feature-rich than Google Drive for iOS and Office 360 for iOS put together. Pages for Mac (and iCloud) are more powerful and feature-rich than Google Docs online.

    Microsoft Office is more powerful than iWork, but it’s much more expensive too.

    If these go free, I won’t have much of a reason to keep Microsoft Office on my Mac any longer, or on any of my computers, for that matter.

    • Rowan09

      I agree Office is way too expensive. These should go free because currently you have to either purchase or use another alternative on the iPad or iPhone.

    • Mohammad Ridwan

      If only Apple made iWork for Windows …. I’d buy it and ditch office….

  • Stephanie Alldritt

    This update came up on my iPhone as a free bundle of apps. I downloaded them only to find I was charged almost $50 for all of them. Now fighting with Apple to have these charges removed. I had the above notification, only in English. I wish I had taken a screen shot of it!