There’s no official announcement as yet, but it’s finally here. On Friday, Microsoft unveiled a version of its Office productivity suite for iOS devices.
Bearing the rather clunky name of “Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers”, the app does require a subscription to Microsoft’s cloud service, but the fundamentals are present: you can use it to access, view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on an iPad or iPhone — although the app is optimized for the iPhone 5, so don’t expect a tablet-friendly experience.
According to the product blurb:
“Documents look like the originals, thanks to support for charts, animations, SmartArt graphics and shapes. When you make quick edits or add comments to a document, the formatting and content remain intact.”
The app can be used on Office documents received as email attachments, or those stored on SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro or SharePoint. If your desktop Office 2013 is connected to Microsoft’s cloud, you can also pull up documents that were recently viewed there, from your mobile device.
It is possible to edit documents while offline. The app is compatible with iPhone 4 and up, and with the 3rd generation iPad and up (and yes, with the iPad mini too). Devices have to run iOS 6.1 or later.
It doesn’t seem the rollout is global just yet, though. My iPad mini, which is set to the U.K. App Store, isn’t seeing it at the time of writing. No sign of an Android version, either.
UPDATE (5am PT): Microsoft has now published a blog post explaining the functionality in greater detail.
NOTE: This article originally bore the headline “Microsoft quietly pushes out Office for iPhone and iPad”. A few minutes after posting the “… and iPad” was excised because, while the app will work on iPads, it’s not optimized for them.