iOS 8: Apple apparently working on TextEdit and Preview apps with iCloud integration

iOS 8 (Preview and TextEdit mockup)

After reporting yesterday that Apple is considering moving iTunes Radio to its own standalone app in iOS 8, the same reliable blogger is now citing sources with knowledge of Apple’s initiatives as claiming that the next major revision to Apple’s mobile operating system will bring two apps over from the Mac – Preview and TextEdit – both supporting Documents in the Cloud, a feature that lets software store documents in iCloud to be readily available on all devices.

Preview and TextEdit in OS X Mavericks already have support for iCloud documents so this development indicates Apple’s intent to make iOS 8 and OS X even more tightly integrated…

Mark Gurman, reporting for 9toMac:

The applications are said to not be designed to actually edit PDFs, images, or text documents. Instead, the apps are built to serve as tools to view Preview and TextEdit files stored in iCloud by OS X.

Apple added iCloud synchronization for Preview and TextEdit with OS X Mountain Lion, but has not yet released iOS counterparts to actually view the synchronized content.

Gurman goes on to note that the apps in question, currently in the early stage of development, are “being considered for release later in the year.”

Additionally, Apple is said to be exploring new iCloud storage tools to make the development of server-integrated App Store apps for iOS simpler, as per the report.

These initiatives are the result of tighter collaboration between iOS and OS X teams following Tim Cook’s firing of former iOS head Scott Forstall over the Maps debacle and his abrasive management style:

The development of the new applications comes as a benefit of Apple Senior VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi’s restructuring of Apple’s OS X and iOS development teams over the course of the past year, according to sources.

These people say that Federighi has opened the previous iOS and OS X feature development silos and that all iOS and OS X software engineers work in tandem on both operating systems.

Prior to these changes, for example, an OS X team would develop the TextEdit and Preview apps completely separately from the larger iOS group, who could, independently, develop versions of Preview and TextEdit for iOS. Now each application is managed by single groups that develop both iOS and OS X versions.

Though iOS 8’s Preview and TextEdit will bring improved feature parity between iOS and OS X, don’t hold your breath for the editing functionality. As the author states, Apple will “encourage” users to use iBooks and iWork for iOS to manage and edit their documents.

Just the other day I was thinking how frustrating an experience it is to have text files created in TextEdit stored in iCloud yet not being able to access them on iOS devices.

The blame is on Apple and its sandboxing requirements which, coupled with iOS’s philosophy, don’t allow for iCloud documents to be accessed by any app other than its creator. Unlike Android, iOS disappoints in terms of inter-app communication.

For example, only Apple’s Keynote is allowed to retrieve, update and delete presentations kept in iCloud. The same logic applies to any third-party iOS and OS X app which implements the Documents in the Cloud feature.

iCloud (teaser 003)

This isn’t a major issue with apps that use their own file format such as GarageBand, for example. But more often than not, people store their stuff in one of standard file formats and expect their documents to be readable by any app.

I’m glad Apple’s realized these two essential apps need to be brought over to iOS 8 so folks could access their text documents, PDFs, rich text files and more on any device they happen to own, be it a Mac, an iPhone or an iPad.

That said, I’m very much looking forward to Preview and TextEdit in iOS 8.


Pictured top of post: mockup of TextEdit and Preview iOS icons.