The Windows maker finally released Office apps for iPad and iPhone. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad, and Office Mobile (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) for the iPhone connect to Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service. How much is Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Office Mobile? You won’t believe where Microsoft is going with this suite of apps.
Looks Not Deceiving
First of all, each of the Office apps as well as Office Mobile for iPhone look very good. In fact, think of Office for Mac mostly scaled down to fit the iPhone or iPad’s smaller screen, and you get an idea of the care Microsoft put into the apps.
Second, Office Mobile for iPhone comes with the three Microsoft mainstays; Word, Excel, and PowerPoint so you can create and edit documents on the smaller screen.
Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad are downloads from the iTunes App Store and each is free. All the apps synchronize nicely between devices by using Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service. Open up a Word document on your iPhone from OneDrive, and pick up where you left off on the iPad.
All the basic formatting and edits remain intact between iPhone and iPad and Mac (when using OneDrive to store files, obviously).
My first couple of hours with Office Mobile tells me this is as well crafted as Microsoft gets. All the apps look and feel like a good iPhone or iPad app, but each is really a smaller, mobile version of the Office apps.
Take a look.
What’s not to like? Well, pricing, for one thing. Microsoft Office Mobile for the iPhone is free for home use.
Otherwise, Microsoft requires that Office Mobile for business users have a qualifying Office 365 subscription to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to create, edit and save documents. For business use.
What about the iPad versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint?
Pay By The Month
Renting software is all the rage in the 21st century. Each of the iPad apps– Word, Excel, PowerPoint– are free downloads but require an Office 365 subscription plan (which has a bunch of monthly rental plans starting at $5.00 per user per month. The larger the number of users, the more the monthly rental fee).
Do the math. Apple’s iWork suite for iPhone and iPad is included and free. So is iCloud storage up to select amount.
Microsoft’s Office Mobile is also free for personal use, but for business use it is tied to a monthly or annual billing plan. A rental fee, if you will. For the smaller business with 25 or fewer users, it’s $60 a year. Or, $300 for five years.
Compare that to Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac which starts at $140 for the home and student version, and scales to $220 for Office for Mac Home and Business 2011, then to Office 365 Home Premium which is a monthly or annual rental at $9.99 a month, or $99.99 a year.
No matter how you slice it and dice it, Microsoft, like Adobe, wants customers to pay by the month to use their wares. Competition is stiff in the mobile arena, especially among smartphones. Most Google apps and services are free. Apple’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are free. To compete, Microsoft’s Office Mobile for iPhone and iPad is also free for personal use to home users.
Too little and too late? Try the apps to see for yourself.
Get Office Free
Each app in the Office suite can be downloaded for free from the Apple iTunes App Store, however, downloads are different depending upon your Apple device.
iPhone uses will need to download the Microsoft Office Mobile suite, which is free for home use, but you’ll still need OneDrive. iCloud storage is not supported.
Can you say, ‘Lock in!?’
The question that many iPhone and iPad users can ask is a simple one. ‘Do I need Office apps on my iPhone or iPad?‘ Do you?
UPDATE – I can confirm that Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iPad will read their respective files, but to edit or create files you will need that monthly rental fee Office 365 subscription.
However, I downloaded Office Mobile for iPhone to my iPad (use the link above on your iPad) and it installs just fine. And, you’ll be able to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint– the iPhone version– on your iPad, and without having to subscribe to Office 365 (you’ll still need the OneDrive cloud storage account, thought).
It’s not as pretty as the iPad version but it works.