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Apple introduces real time, cross-platform iWork collaboration

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Apple on Wednesday announced a new iWork feature that allows both Mac and iOS users to collaborate on a variety of Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents in real time.

Announced and demonstrated onstage at today's special event by Apple VP of Product Marketing Susan Prescott, the iWork collaboration feature is available for iPhones, iPads and Macs. Users running Windows can also work with colleagues via a web interface.

In practice, iWork syncs document changes across devices which, depending on whether collaboration mode is set to public or private, show up on another user's screen. Collaborators can easily distinguish who is modifying a spreadsheet, word processing file or presentation, as user input is displayed in different colors.

The addition arrives as a competitor to existing productivity software suites including the web-based Google Docs and Microsoft's Office 365, both of which have boasted collaboration features for years. Apple, late to the game, is pushing the education angle, touting use case scenarios like teacher-to-student and student-to-student collaboration.