Apple has announced that the public beta will close its virtual doors on 31 July.

The free online service for syncing and sharing Pages, Numbers, and Keynote documents debuted back in 2009. Two years ago, Apple updated with easier public sharing and improved mobile access. Now, however, in a post-iCloud world, Apple has decided to permanently shutter the service.

There are likely two reasons Apple's shutting down the service: The first--and the one that Apple highlighted in an email to users--is the launch of iCloud, which lets you store documents, music, photos, and more, syncing them wirelessly and automatically between your devices. Because you can share iWork documents with iCloud, has become a bit redundant.

The second reason Apple's probably happy to be ending the experiment is the simple fact that the service, while not terrible, was never all that good, either. You couldn't use for Google Docs-style collaboration, and it didn't work seamlessly and transparently like Dropbox. It was a clunky back-and-forth-process to manage files with, and few will likely miss it.

Writes Apple, "As of July 31, 2012, you will no longer be able to access your documents on the site or view them on the web. We recommend that you sign in to before July 31, 2012, and download all your documents to your computer. For detailed instructions on how to save a copy of your documents on your computer, read this support article at is survived, barely, by iWeb and MobileMe.