Following many months of speculation and even a few leaked screens, Microsoft has finally launched a version of Office for iOS. The suite will be offered as a free download, though before you get too excited there are a couple of caveats: it’s optimized for the iPhone only and is limited to Office 365 subscribers.
Although that certainly thins down the potential user base for the apps, those who have already bought into Microsoft's vision for Office in the cloud will certainly appreciate the addition. Much like the Office Mobile suite that Microsoft preloads on Windows Phone, the iOS version allows users to access, view and edit any file previously saved in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint while keeping all the content and formatting intact.
Naturally, the mobile client is still a bit limited compared to its desktop counterpart, but it nevertheless supports rich media content such as charts, animations, SmartArt graphics and shapes. The app is tied to Microsoft’s cloud services so it pulls all of the users’ files from the cloud (SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro or SharePoint) and any changes you make on mobile end up synced with your work on the desktop version of the software.
Moreover, Office Mobile can be used on up to five iPhones, and just like the Windows Mobile counterpart these devices won't count against the five-device usage rights that come as part of an Office 365 subscription.
Office Mobile comes in at 58MB on the App Store and is compatible with the iPhone 4 and up running iOS 6.1 or later. While it will work as a companion app for both Windows and Mac versions of the productivity suite, some newer features like recent documents and resume reading only work with Microsoft Office 2013 for PC.
There's no word yet on an Office Mobile for Android or a version optimized for the iPad’s larger screen.
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