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Image credit: to be discontinued, Apple suggests iCloud as a replacement


Apple has sent an email notice to all users of the public beta indicating that the service will be shut down July 31, 2012. "With a new way to share iWork documents between your devices using iCloud, the public beta service will no longer be available," Apple states. "As of July 31, 2012, you will no longer be able to access your documents on the site or view them on the web." went live more than three years ago alongside the release of iWork '09. Since then, the service has never shed its "public beta" label, and iWork '09 remains the most current version of the suite for the Mac. Despite the iOS versions of iWork's apps receiving continual updates, including support for iCloud syncing, the Mac versions are starting to look neglected by comparison.

Reaction on Twitter and within the TUAW newsroom suggests that few people will be surprised by being shut down; the general consensus so far has been, "Wasn't it shut down already?" That having been said, Apple's suggestion that iCloud will serve as a suitable replacement isn't quite on the money. While iCloud does provide easy syncing of documents between iOS devices, the lack of easy syncing with Mac versions of iWork remains a glaring omission, though that's an omission that will be addressed when OS X Mountain Lion is released in summer 2012. Anyone who relied on's collaborative editing features (some of you did, right?) is going to be hit much harder by the service's discontinuation, because at present iCloud doesn't offer the same ease of document sharing.

If you have documents on, Apple recommends that you retrieve them from the site before the service is shuttered permanently.

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