At Apple's education event this morning at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, CEO Tim Cook just presented new, completely upgraded versions of the company's suite of iWork productivity apps that includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. From this day forth, the apps will boast support for the Apple Pencil — which, the company remarked, is the top choice for digital illustrators — on all compatible iPads.

Now when you're creating a document, you'll be able to draw, sketch, or write with your Apple Pencil without needing to leave the app, allowing you to give your projects new life with illustrations, diagrams, and more. And I'm not talking notelike digital scribbles here (although you can make those, too) — if you want, you can create intricately detailed drawings complete with precisely-added colors, textures, and effects that will really make your work stand out.

Out of all of the iWork apps, Pages seems to have received the most updates, with probably the most exciting being Smart Annotation (launched today in beta). With Smart Annotation, users can easily and effectively give, receive and incorporate feedback in a document with their Apple Pencil. Each mark, correction, and note stays dynamically anchored to the word or words it's added to, so even if you move the word word or phrase around within the work, the annotation follows. It's "not just a superficial layer" atop the piece — it's actually tethered to the elements within. That essentially means that when used in the classroom, teachers can mark up a student's paper in a way that they've never been able to before.

In addition, the Pages update is bringing digital book creation to the iPad. (That means no more iBooks Author, as it's being integrated directly into Pages.) Now, students and teachers can create interactive digital textbooks, travel books, short stories, and pretty much any other book projects their beautiful minds can conjure, then make their work even more immersive with galleries, captions, music, illustrations, and video. What's more, Pages gives users the ability to collaborate on all projects including books, so multiple students (or colleagues, or artists, or writers) can work on a masterpiece together in real time. Once a project is complete, you can share it directly to iBooks.

Finally, new Pages has been outfitted with what Apple calls Presenter Mode, which essentially allows iPad and iPhone users to turn their device into a virtual teleprompter for "distraction-free reading" — a feature that's great for sharing important excerpts in a classroom setting. According to Apple, the text can auto scroll at an adjustable speed, and users can customize text size, spacing, font, and background color so that whatever is being presented is as accessible as possible.

Susan Prescott, Apple's VP of Apps Product Marketing, the company's enthusiasm for the opportunities the changes to iWork provide in a statement:

iWork is a powerful suite of apps designed for iPhone, iPad and Mac that is used in classrooms around the world. With Apple Pencil support on iPad, the new Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps now let students bring a whole new level of creativity to their documents, spreadsheets and presentations, while the innovative new Smart Annotation feature gives students the ability to give, receive and incorporate feedback easier than ever before. Students can also use the built-in, real-time collaboration tools available in iWork to explore and learn together.

Updates to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are all available today, and will also come with every new iPad for no additional charge.


What will you create with the revamped iWork suite? Share in the comments!

9.7-inch iPad