Microsoft released full(er) featured native Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint Apps for the iPad (iOS7 or above) at the back end of March 2014 and the Apps have broken into the ‘Top 10’ download chart. The question is: Will they help you work smarter with your iPad?

Well, there’s plenty of room for confusion and frustration for many iPad users who haven’t got the time or inclination to deep-dive into the technical details of the apps.

Add to this the fact that the tablet market has moved significantly in recent years with, according to Gartner , Android tablets now dominating with 62% share in 2013 versus iPad’s 36% share and you might, rightly, think the Microsoft still has a lot of catch-up to do.

Back to the iPad and those Apps. Here’s my first take on the present position. I’d be delighted to have your input.

  1. First off, the naming is slightly confusing. You don’t get one Office App, you download separate Apps. The ‘New’ ones are Word, Excel and PowerPoint which have been added to the previously available OneNote, Lync, OneDrive and an OWA app for Exchange-based email.
  2. The Apps don’t change the underlying limitations of the iPad format. So, inputting via Screen keyboards on those more complicated files within Word, Excel and PowerPoint , might be more frustrating than you think. Time to buy that external keyboard?
  3. The free versions have very limited functionality – basically read only. To unlock the full functionality you have to rent an Office 365 package from Microsoft. How will this fit into your current practice if you are not already renting from Microsoft (they call it a ‘subscription’ by the way!)
  4. The Microsoft Apps can’t currently print from iPads BUT Microsoft is promising an early update to enable printing from the iPad.
  5. You can save files to the iPad, Onedrive and Sharepoint. You can’t use other services like Dropbox or Evernote
  6. Over the past few months I am seeing increasing use of iPads with full virtualised access to Microsoft Exchange desktops. Whilst I have not used this yet, it does seem the obvious choice for mobile workers whose employers use Microsoft / Exchange.

Have you downloaded the Office of iPad apps? What is you experience? Are you one of the Virtualised iPad brigade – if so how is that working for you?  Let me kow via your comments below.

Till next time

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