Microsoft releases new iPhone and iPad Office apps, Android incoming

Microsoft releases new iPhone and iPad Office apps, Android incoming
Taking advantage of the increased screen size

Microsoft has released new powered-up versions of its Office apps for iPhone and iPad, covering Word, Powerpoint and Excel, and a preview for the upcoming Android versions is starting imminently.

Until now, the Microsoft Office apps available for iPhones were pretty weak, but Microsoft has updated them to offer the same sort of experience iPad users have enjoyed to date.

This upgrade clearly slots in well with the introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which give you a bit more screen space in which to navigate those super-exciting Excel spreadsheets.

The iPad apps have been updated too, but the changes seem to be subtler.

For Android fans...

Android owners don't get left out, but you'll probably have a bit longer to wait. You can sign up for the Android Office app preview programme, but if you're not accepted you'll have to wait until the full launch in 2015.

The Android version is designed to work with Android tablets rather than phones, requiring something with a 7-10.1-inch screen running Android KitKat. Have a Nexus 9? You're out of luck.

iOS versions are much less picky, simply requiring iOS 7.0 or newer. These apps are free to use, and let you both create and edit documents. However, there are not-so-micro transactions built-in that let you sign up to an Office 365 subscription too.

An Office 365 subscription starts at $6.99/£5.99 a month, and that gets you full desktop access on up to five computers.

With 40 million copies of the iPad Office downloaded already, Microsoft is clearly hoping to leverage these free apps to bring a few people back into the Office fold.

"Office applications are what people want to use to get things done" claims Microsoft corporate vice president John Case.

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.