Microsoft has finally unveiled Office for iPad, years after the suite of productivity apps was first rumoured to be heading to Apple’s slate. Word, Excel and Powerpoint are now up for grabs from the App Store and are free to access.
However, if you want to edit documents rather than simply read them, you’ll need to have an Office 365 subscription. That could put Microsoft’s products at a disadvantage at a time when Google Drive and Apple’s own iWork software are now free to use.
Each app has been designed specifically for the iPad, with improved touch controls and larger icons. This is not simply a bulked up version of 2013’s Office for iPhone and looks all the better for it.
Despite concerns over the need for an Office 365 package, the three apps have already soared to the top of the App Store charts, showing that Microsoft’s tools remain the most popular way to write, present and plan.
The launch comes just weeks after Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft CEO from Steve Ballmer, with a promise to put cloud and mobile services first. It’s believed Ballmer was reluctant to launch Office for iPad as he felt it would hamper sales of Microsoft’s own tablets.