MICROSOFT has finally launched its Microsoft Office app built especially for the iPad today, bringing Word, Excel and Powerpoint to Apple tablet users for the first time.
The app was unveiled by CEO Satya Nadella, broadcast live from San Francisco, in what was his first launch event as company chief and 52nd day on the job.
After ten minutes of vague chat about where he thinks Microsoft is going in terms of cloud and mobile, Nadella gave up the stage for the firm's general manager of Microsoft Office, Julia White, who would reveal what Microsoft had up its sleeve for its productivity suite.
Pulling out an iPad, White said, "In this cloud-first mobile-first world, Microsoft is focused on empowering people to get more done wherever they need to and on any device, to help people do more on the device they choose."
She added that because Microsoft is committed to developing mobile applications, users can access all their files, such as those saved on its Onedrive storage service, across multiple devices - but trying to open up a Microsoft Word document from Onedrive on an iPad results in jumbled texts and images not being displayed correctly.
"If only I had the real [Microsoft] Office for iPad I could get more done", she teased, adding, "Well, it turns out, as of today, you do. Specifically, Word, Excel and Powerpoint are live today in the App Store for you to download and enjoy."
White demonstrated working with documents using the Microsoft Office software on the iPad, showing how all the features you'd expect in Microsoft Office were present, how well they were presented and how easy they were to manipulate and edit with her fingers.
"This is unmistakably [Microsoft] Word, but it's also very natural on the iPad and this is a design paradigm we balanced to make sure these are great familiar [Microsoft] Office applications but also a wonderful touch iPad experience, so that way we know all our customers can be comfortable using these apps right away to get more done," White added.
Microsoft circulated invitations for a "news briefing" taking place today last week, "focused on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing". It was anticipated for some time that the event would announce the release of Microsoft Office to the iPad, and here it is.
It was widely reported that the software would be a duplicate of Microsoft Office 365 for iPhone, which was launched in June. But Microsoft today confirmed that the app has been built especially for iPad, bringing nearly all of the features found in the desktop version but working with touch capabilities. However, like the iPhone app, the Office for iPad software will require a Microsoft Office 365 cloud subscription to create new documents or edit existing ones, starting at aroud £60 a year.
Onenote is now available "on all the platforms you care about", Microsoft said in a blog post. "And they're always in sync."
With the release, Onenote is now available not just on Mac computers but across multiple platforms including Windows, Mac, Windows tablets, Windows Phone, iPad, iPhone, Android and the web.
"We've seen the countless requests for a Mac client of Onenote, and we've been hard at work to deliver it. We've been counting the days to finally share with you that Onenote for Mac is now available and you can download it from the app store for free today," Microsoft's Onenote team wrote in the blog post. µ