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Apple has revealed new versions of the iLife and iWork software suites for iOS and OS X, in what the company’s VP for software and services Eddy Cue called “the biggest day for apps in Apple’s history".

Both packages have also been made free to all new iOS 7 users. Existing iWork and iLife users can upgrade for free via the App Store.

The move puts Apple’s offering right up against Google’s superb Drive software, which works across mobile and desktop and also challenges Microsoft’s paid-for Office 365 service.

iWork now comes with a unified file format, intended to ease document editing across devices. Keynote, Pages and Numbers have all been rejigged too. And there are even live collaboration tools as part of the iWork for iCloud beta.

iLife also offers a slew of new look apps. iMovie for iOS has been redesigned to make it easier to browse and share clips, with picture-in-picture and split-screen editing brought across from the desktop version. A new iMovie Theater function also lets you watch shared clips on any iOS device or Apple TV.

Garageband for iOS has also had an overhaul. It now lets amateur musicians lay down up to 32 tracks, with Inter-App Audio enabling musos to record third-party music apps straight into Garageband. AirDrop compatibility means it’s now easier than ever to share Garageband projects with other users.

The big deal, though, is the fact that Apple has set iWork and iMovie free. With rival services offering amazing packages for gratis already, Cupertino arguably had to make this move to stay competitive in the software stakes.

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