Office for iPad unveiled, brings suite of Microsoft services to Apple's tab

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Office for all of us

Microsoft has released Office for iPad, as many suspected would be the big announcement coming out of a March 27 press briefing earlier today.

Office for iPad went live at 11 a.m. PT. Users will find Word, Excel and PowerPoint ready for their fingerprints right on their Apple tab.

The theme of the day's proceedings was the intersection of cloud and mobile, and to that point CEO Satya Nadella stressed that the Microsoft cloud wants to be there for everyone on every device.

Stretching some of Microsoft's strongest suits to Apple hardware was clearly a way to make the point.

What to expect from Office for iPad

Microsoft made it clear that it didn't simply port over Windows apps to iPad; according to the company, Word, Excel and PowerPoint were uniquely built for the tablet, featuring full fat tools and a "great touch experience." No need for a mouse and keyboard here - Microsoft has worked to gift as much capability and precision on a touch-only device.

Collaborative work is possible thanks to OneDrive, and multiple users can tinker with a doc or presentation without any word disappearing.

The free versions of the apps will let users read Word docs, view Excel data and present a PowerPoint, but Office 365 members who add an iPad to their subscription can edit and create all of the above. Changes will carry over to Office on PC, Mac, other tablets and phones.

A 365 subscription also means users can upload Office for iPad apps on up to five tablets plus install five copies across Office for PCs and Macs.

iPad owners will need iOS 7 and up to run Office apps.

More now, more to come

In addition to the Office for iPad announcement, the company is offering up its Office Mobile for iPhone and Android handsets free.

Of course, many users are wondering where Office for Android tablets is, but perhaps we'll see Office, Excel and PowerPoint on Google-powered slates before long.

Microsoft teased that more Office apps are headed to the Windows Store as well as "other popular platforms," and we expect plenty more to come during next week's Build.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.