Microsoft's unified office app now on iPad

Published on 16 Feb 2021

Microsoft has released a tablet friendly update of its unified Office mobile app for iPad devices. Individual apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint will continue to be available. Back in 2019, Microsoft launched the unified app for Android and iOS, however the app ran in windowed mode and was not fully optimized as an iPad app. With this latest update the app will be able to provide a better experience for Apple's tablet users.

The new update will introduce tools and features that are specifically designed for the mobile environment. Some of these features include the ability to quickly create PDFs, sign documents and convert images to text and tables along with other quick actions. The app will have access to the regular tablet variants of Microsoft's entire productivity suite.

Microsoft has been adding several features to its office app that are meant to leverage the iPadOS. Recently the company introduced mouse and trackpad support. The company has been simplifying its mobile Office offering into this single app to make it easier for users to start using the productivity suite. However, standalone versions for its popular apps will continue to be available. Microsoft regularly updates these standalone versions of popular tools like Excel and Word.
The unified app will be supported by devices that run iOS 13.0 or higher. It is available for free download from Apple's app store. However, in order to unlock full functionality users will need to purchase a subscription to Microsoft 365. Users can choose the personal plan at $6.99 per month of the family plan at $9.99 per month.

In general the public perceives the relationship between Microsoft and Apple as that of a rivalry, however the two firms have had a more cordial relationship than most people realize. Although the two firms are fierce competitors they have also been strategic business partners over the years. Back in 1997 Bill Gates invested $150 million in Apple to save the company from bankruptcy. Most commentators believe that the move was to prevent Microsoft form being target under anti-trust laws.

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