Mar 31, 2014
It’s finally arrived! Four years after the introduction of the first iPad and subsequent explosion of the tablet market Microsoft has finally delivered on their long standing promise to bring their flagship product to iOS (the truly awful iPhone version notwithstanding) with the introduction of Word, Excel and PowerPoint to the platform.
If early reviews are to be believed the Apps perform well, but the fundamental question which once seemed unthinkable is, are they really needed at all? For a small niche market the answer will be a resounding yes, the ability to open and edit office formatted files is certainly a welcome addition to the morning train ride for diehard office users. The vast majority of iPad users however have got along just fine without Office on their devices so far and will likely see no need to change that now.
With the rapid ascent of cloud computing over the past several years and the convenience of products such as Google Drive, I can honestly say that lacking Microsoft Office on my iPad is something I have never felt was much of much consequence at all. Although, I must confess that the ability to play PowerPoint slideshows from my iPad mini mirroring to an AppleTV does open the door for some for slick possibilities during pitches and client presentations.
As the tablet market has matured most have come to accept that along with the many endearing qualities of tablet devices in their current form, there also comes limitations. All their convenience and intuitive user experience aside, they remain primarily consumption devices, great for leisure reading, monitoring social media or streaming video but cumbersome for completing many tasks that to put it bluntly, are just more efficiently done on a computer.
As phones grow larger and tablets smaller we are approaching an interesting point in the history of tablet devices. The practice of pairing an iPad and bluetooth keyboard has become commonplace, and as more and more users utilize their tablets in place of laptops as their primary word processing device it certainly makes sense for Microsoft to have a presence in this space. Whether users still feel that Office programs are a must-have addition to their iPads however remains to be seen.
Word, Excel and Powerpoint are avilable now for free download in the App store, however a Microsoft Office 365 subscription is required to utilize all but the most basic features, basically allowing you to open and view files, but not allowing for any editing or creation of new documents.