Key­note 4 for iOS

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iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS - Glenn Fleish­man

Key­note for iOS has al­ways been de­signed around in­ter­ac­tion more than its macOS coun­ter­part, partly be­cause it’s more likely you’ll be us­ing a sin­gle screen to pre­sent than mul­ti­ple mon­i­tors. That shows clearly in this mi­nor up­date. And many of the new fea­tures bring Key­note for iOS into fea­ture par­ity with its macOS coun­ter­part, as well as a con­sis­tent in­ter­face and set of op­tions along­side Pages and Num­bers on both plat­forms.

Ap­ple Pen­cil sup­port

Just as you can in the other iWork iOS apps (Pages and Num­bers), Ap­ple Pen­cil or your fin­ger can be used to

cre­ate draw­ings on iPads with Pen­cil sup­port. This a use­ful im­prove­ment for Key­note – mak­ing as much sense here as in Pages – with the added ben­e­fit that Key­note for iOS can an­i­mate the draw­ings you cre­ate by ef­fec­tively re­play­ing them.

The an­i­mated draw­ing fea­ture is, un­for­tu­nately, rudi­men­tary and needs more de­vel­op­ment. It shows stroke by stroke the ges­tures you made, and you can play back those ges­tures by cre­at­ing a build for the draw­ing and then se­lect­ing the Line Draw op­tion. You can set an over­all du­ra­tion for the draw­ing to oc­cur, but you can’t re­move strokes, con­trol the speed of a stroke, re­ar­range them, or mod­ify them. If you use the eraser to re­move part of a draw­ing, that piece is re­moved from all the frames, mak­ing ini­tial draw­ing stages look pe­cu­liar. You have to be per­fect in your orig­i­nal draw­ing for this fea­ture to work, which is ask­ing a lot.

As in Pages and Num­bers, Ap­ple pe­cu­liarly re­lies on a sub­set of stan­dard markup tool­kit for cre­at­ing draw­ings, which feels in­ad­e­quate rel­a­tive to even some of the sim­pler stand­alone draw­ing apps. Ap­ple shouldn’t put a full sketch­ing en­vi­ron­ment into these apps, but I’m not sure this is ro­bust enough to let peo­ple add ad­di­tional value into their pre­sen­ta­tions.

The com­pany also opted to not sup­port pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity with Pen­cil, which feels like an odd choice. In­stead, you have to dou­ble-tap a draw­ing tool to se­lect thick­ness. This seems to dis­able one of the Pen­cil and iPad Pro’s com­bined flag­ship fea­tures with­out of­fer­ing a ben­e­fit.

New im­age gallery, Box sup­port, and more

Key­note’s other main new fea­ture is an im­age gallery, which func­tions as a rea­son­ably use­ful slide show. You add the im­age gallery, se­lect images, and then can add cap­tions (or use a sin­gle cap­tion for the en­tire show). The slideshow can have one of three tran­si­tions: Ap­pears, Dis­solve, or Move In. How­ever, un­like the new Key­note for macOS, it doesn’t ap­pear as if you can set a du­ra­tion be­tween slides for au­to­matic play­back, mak­ing the fea­ture slightly point­less.

For fea­ture par­ity, Ap­ple now lets you change themes in Key­note for iOS, and ad­just the slide size and as­pect ra­tio of pre­sen­ta­tions. Pre­vi­ously, you would have had to round trip the pre­sen­ta­tion to a Mac and back to iOS to make those mod­i­fi­ca­tions.

Key­note now of­fers pie charts, which may make your stom­ach rum­ble, but ap­par­ently were one of the few com­mon chart op­tions miss­ing. As with all the up­dates

to apps, there are new shapes of all sorts you can in­sert and then edit to cus­tom­ize.

Sup­port for real-time col­lab­o­ra­tive edit­ing for Key­note files shared via the Box doc­u­ment ser­vice is now in­cluded here as in all the pro­duc­tiv­ity apps on both plat­forms.

And I found one con­sis­tent show­stop­per, just as with Pages for iOS: when­ever I at­tempted to use the All Photos al­bum to add me­dia, Key­note froze and even­tu­ally crashed. I use iCloud Photo Li­brary and have over 37,000 me­dia types in it. What­ever the quan­tity, this kind of flaw shouldn’t hap­pen with re­leased soft­ware from Ap­ple. Un­like the sim­i­lar Pages flaw,

changes made up to the mo­ment of us­ing the im­age se­lec­tor were re­tained.


Key­note 4 for iOS lacks the pol­ish I’d ex­pect from a re­lease ver­sion, es­pe­cially with ef­fec­tively no changes unique to the app, but all in­cor­po­rat­ing op­tions are avail­able across apps and be­tween plat­forms. Ap­ple needs to give more at­ten­tion to Key­note, fix the miss­ing im­age gallery fea­tures that it al­ready added to the Mac ver­sion, and pro­vide more gen­eral pol­ish. It also needs to push Key­note for­ward with bet­ter and richer in­ter­ac­tiv­ity, some­thing that should be ex­pected this many years into its de­vel­op­ment.

The im­age gallery fea­ture lets you cre­ate a slideshow, but the iOS re­lease of Key­note can’t au­to­mat­i­cally ad­vance it

You can both draw in Key­note and an­i­mate the draw­ing, us­ing a spe­cial build that re­plays your work stroke by stroke

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