Office for iOS references spotted, raises a few questions

We have known for some time that Microsoft is working on building Office support for the iOS platform. We have heard that Office will arrive on iOS in early 2013 and today we are now seeing even more evidence that Microsoft is hard at work on bringing the platform to Apple’s mobile ecosystem.

Spotted by Mac4Ever, references to the mobile Office platform for iOS have been spotted in Microsoft material on the company’s support site. The references include Office for iPhone and Excel/PowerPoint for the iPad.

While we are not any closer to knowing the release date for the platform, seeing that the support references are starting to creep into Microsoft documentation, it would look like we are quickly approaching the launch Window.

For Microsoft, the Office platform is the ace in the sleeve for the company as it is widely considered to be the king of productivity applications. Microsoft is currently using Office as bait with the new Windows RT based Surface tablet by bundling the application with the device.

We will be curious to see what functionality is included with the iOS versions of Office as we expect it will be neutered in some way to promote their Surface as the superior product.

One of the big questions we are wanting answered is if the iOS version of Office will be touch optimized.

If Microsoft delivers a finger friendly version of Office to iPad users before that of Surface users, it will be interesting to see how the community reacts as Microsoft would have given preference to the iPad instead of the Surface for mobile Office.

Via: Macrumors

Source: Mac4ever

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24 Comments

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I'm confused why so many people point to the Windows RT version of Office being a massive advantage, when it's not approved for commercial use?

AeonicVision said,
I'm confused why so many people point to the Windows RT version of Office being a massive advantage, when it's not approved for commercial use?

Because you are conflating things that are not relevant to each other?

Not sure which one you are putting relevance in, so will hit both.

The final RTM release of Office 2013 on Windows RT is approved for commercial use. It also can be used in a 'company' as it falls into per user licensing models.

People keep thinking that Microsoft is doing a 'full version' of Office on iOS.

The problem with this is that even if possible, it would be horribly slow on iOS.

Look at Apple's own productivity software, and compare these limited products with Office on Windows RT, they can't even come close the speed, and have 1/1000th the functionality.

The iOS frameworks are limited, as it is only providing an approximation of the OS X relevant kernel level and application APIs, it is not OS X - despite what Jobs and others called iOS. iOS to OS X is more like what WinCE is to WindowsNT, a lot things look the same, and a lot of the APIs appear to be the same, but the OS and level of functionality is a massive difference.

The version of Office that iOS is getting as stated by Microsoft is a limited editing capable version. So it is only going to be a variation of the Web and/or Windows Mobile/WP7/WP8 versions, but for iOS.

If you want the full Office experience on tablet, you need Windows RT, or Windows Pro, because there is no way Android or iOS are even close to being capable of running anything close to the full version of Office.

This is why it is important to remind people that the Windows Frameworks and the NT kernel are what is powering Windows RT, because when it comes down to the power and performance of 'complex' software, being a full OS becomes VERY IMPORTANT.

thenetavenger said,
People keep thinking that Microsoft is doing a 'full version' of Office on iOS.

The problem with this is that even if possible, it would be horribly slow on iOS.

Look at Apple's own productivity software, and compare these limited products with Office on Windows RT, they can't even come close the speed, and have 1/1000th the functionality.

The iOS frameworks are limited, as it is only providing an approximation of the OS X relevant kernel level and application APIs, it is not OS X - despite what Jobs and others called iOS. iOS to OS X is more like what WinCE is to WindowsNT, a lot things look the same, and a lot of the APIs appear to be the same, but the OS and level of functionality is a massive difference.

The version of Office that iOS is getting as stated by Microsoft is a limited editing capable version. So it is only going to be a variation of the Web and/or Windows Mobile/WP7/WP8 versions, but for iOS.

If you want the full Office experience on tablet, you need Windows RT, or Windows Pro, because there is no way Android or iOS are even close to being capable of running anything close to the full version of Office.

This is why it is important to remind people that the Windows Frameworks and the NT kernel are what is powering Windows RT, because when it comes down to the power and performance of 'complex' software, being a full OS becomes VERY IMPORTANT.

Why don't you stop spreading this NT kernel bulls**t? I've seriously never seen someone singlehandedly spread such a load of crap in my life.

theignorant1 said,

Why don't you stop spreading this NT kernel bulls**t? I've seriously never seen someone singlehandedly spread such a load of crap in my life.

Actually its true, iOS is significantly less complete than RT. Just list down the features and you will realize yourself.

To start with, no file system access, device support, multi user support, mouse/keyboard friendly desktop along with touch UI, desktop grade tools like task manager, disk manager, powershell, file explorer, etc.

There is a reason why the RT takes more space than Windows Phone or iOS, it simply is more complete.

Expecting touch to replace mouse while retaining same level of productivity is plain stupid. RT has both, so a no compromise approach. It will always be superior to iOS, unless iOS starts running more than just the OSX kernel.

soulxfer said,

Actually its true, iOS is significantly less complete than RT. Just list down the features and you will realize yourself.

To start with, no file system access, device support, multi user support, mouse/keyboard friendly desktop along with touch UI, desktop grade tools like task manager, disk manager, powershell, file explorer, etc.

There is a reason why the RT takes more space than Windows Phone or iOS, it simply is more complete.

Expecting touch to replace mouse while retaining same level of productivity is plain stupid. RT has both, so a no compromise approach. It will always be superior to iOS, unless iOS starts running more than just the OSX kernel.

None of those things have anything to do with the efficiency of the OS at the core level. I most assuredly do not want a desktop or task manager on my tablet. That has nothing to do with completeness. Honestly, where you see no compromise, I see the ultimate compromise

THolman said,

None of those things have anything to do with the efficiency of the OS at the core level. I most assuredly do not want a desktop or task manager on my tablet. That has nothing to do with completeness. Honestly, where you see no compromise, I see the ultimate compromise

If you think the underlying OS model, kernel technologies, and framework technologies have any relevance to a 'desktop' or 'task manager' you are missing some really important things.

You are basically making an argument that a scientific calculator and an abacus are the same thing and you can calculate complex equations just fine with your abacus.

Technically you can complete any computing function on any set of technologies, even flipping a few light swtiches to create AND OR NOR gates you can 'technicallly' compute anything, but God help the person spending the lifetimes to accomplish it.

If you want to do the math for a hyperbolic trajectory to land a probe on Mars, what would you choose, a simple abacus or a computer?

This is why available OS level features are IMPORTANT as there are inherent features that the OS is providing to software/Apps, but also is providing to the hardware and drivers.

App developers can jump over most hoops, but getting the OS to deal with handling processes and threads and talking to the hardware with more efficiency and richer base constructs is NOT possible.

The underlying OS is important, the frameworks are important.

Trust me, hitting the COS button on the computer/calculator is far easier than doing the same operation on an abacus.

theignorant1 said,

Why don't you stop spreading this NT kernel bulls**t? I've seriously never seen someone singlehandedly spread such a load of crap in my life.

And this why your name would be fitting. Ignorance is 'choosing' to remain ignorant, which you are doing a good job.

As I have said before...

"Some people are proud of their ignorance, and determined to keep it." -TheNetAvenger

soulxfer said,

Expecting touch to replace mouse while retaining same level of productivity is plain stupid. RT has both, so a no compromise approach. It will always be superior to iOS, unless iOS starts running more than just the OSX kernel.

Just to be technically correct, the iOS kernel is not the OS X kernel, nor even derived from the OS X kernel. (Despite what Wikipedia says.)

They both come from the Darwin kernel; however, take different directions in feature set, functionality, and the obvious platform specific optimizations.

thenetavenger said,

If you think the underlying OS model, kernel technologies, and framework technologies have any relevance to a 'desktop' or 'task manager' you are missing some really important things.

That's what I was saying - the underlying tech doesn't have any relevance to that. I was just pointing out how useless those things are on a tablet, anyways. But frankly, no one is going to use their tablet to land a rocket on Mars. Doesn't matter if its an iPad or a Surface. But I bet NASA uses Unix when they do

Interesting...

I wonder how Microsoft will explain the lack of WinRT based Office now that everybody knows they're working hard to release an iOS one.

This situation is absolutely ridiculous and sends the wrong message when you're trying to establish your own platform ecosystem.

Someone should be fired over this pathetic snafu (or was it Steven S. ?).

They've been working on an iOS version for a while. Microsoft is a software company so if they have software to release they should.

Some reports suggest Sinofsky failed to give key information and builds of Windows 8/RT to the Office team that prevented them having a "Metro"-ized version of Office.

TheCyberKnight said,
Interesting...

I wonder how Microsoft will explain the lack of WinRT based Office now that everybody knows they're working hard to release an iOS one.

This situation is absolutely ridiculous and sends the wrong message when you're trying to establish your own platform ecosystem.

Someone should be fired over this pathetic snafu (or was it Steven S. ?).

They have a different group of engineers working on this! Cocoa/Objective-C engineers won't develop for windows 8.

TheCyberKnight said,
Interesting...

I wonder how Microsoft will explain the lack of WinRT based Office now that everybody knows they're working hard to release an iOS one.

This situation is absolutely ridiculous and sends the wrong message when you're trying to establish your own platform ecosystem.

Someone should be fired over this pathetic snafu (or was it Steven S. ?).

Because Windows RT doesn't NEED a freaking WinRT version? When you have a full OS, you don't have to use mitigated down feature sets.

Microsoft has indicated that the iOS version will ONLY be a light limited editing version, nothing like the full Office products.

Think of the Windows Mobile/WP7/WP8 and Web versions of Office, this is what iOS and Android are getting, with WP8 to get a richer update with a fairly full feature set, as it is also a FULL OS and can run the existing Windows RT versions as Microsoft migrates the UI for WP8 functionality.

From what I could gather, if you are using Skydrive in iOS, then you can access Office mobile from within iOS. As for Excel and PowerPoint, those are the most Office Apps that you share for presentations, so it could be that Excel and PowerPoint references could be just a viewer.

AGAIN, this are just my assumptions.

devHead said,
I think the biggest question should be, 'Why would an iPad user have any need for productivity software?'

You must not have checked the App Store's "productivity" category statistics lately.

But of course, the common sentiment here is: "If I do not understand why Apple hardware or software is selling well, users of these products are either stupid or wrong. I am never wrong though, of course, because I use either Windows or Android, or both."

Northgrove said,

You must not have checked the App Store's "productivity" category statistics lately.

But of course, the common sentiment here is: "If I do not understand why Apple hardware or software is selling well, users of these products are either stupid or wrong. I am never wrong though, of course, because I use either Windows or Android, or both."

Yeah, I guess I haven't. Then again, I was just trying to make a semi-humorous quip, not give some insight into iOS download percentages. Now, I'm not going to stereotype all Apple users (like you seem to have done to me) and say "I guess Apple users have no sense of humor". Additionally, I would never think users of Apple products are stupid or wrong. I was just making an attempt at some humor. I just figure iPads aren't really designed for creating Word Documents and Excel Spreadsheets, so it seems a little funny that they would design Office Apps for the device. Now, their desktop computers are an entirely different story. But there's really no point trying to reason this out with you, I was just trying to be funny. Sorry.

"One of the big questions we are wanting answered is if the iOS version of Office will be touch optimized." why's that even a question? if you are rewriting it for iOS why would you even make it not right off the bat? you have to rewrite a good bit of it just to get the UI onto iOS... you don't have dialog's anymore like you have in OSX..

neufuse said,
"One of the big questions we are wanting answered is if the iOS version of Office will be touch optimized." why's that even a question? if you are rewriting it for iOS why would you even make it not right off the bat? you have to rewrite a good bit of it just to get the UI onto iOS... you don't have dialog's anymore like you have in OSX..

I was quite astounded this question was actually put in there.
Of course it will.

a) Apple has strict HIG, anything that would require a mouse would be rejected the minute it's turned in.
b) You can't hook up a mouse on the iPad (not without a jailbreak at least) unlike the Surface, meaning it HAS to be touch optimized.

GS:mac

neufuse said,
"One of the big questions we are wanting answered is if the iOS version of Office will be touch optimized." why's that even a question? if you are rewriting it for iOS why would you even make it not right off the bat? you have to rewrite a good bit of it just to get the UI onto iOS... you don't have dialog's anymore like you have in OSX..

Considering these are 'limited editing' versions of Office, they will designed specifically for iOS and fully conform to its UX/UI.

Just like Office for WP7 conforms specifically to the WP7 UI.

I think that if MS provides this as a subscription ($99 per year to have the desktop version grants access to iOS version too), then the move isn't as stupid as if they give it for free. Recall that for windows phones, one does not require a subscription to use office, so windows phone still has a slight upper hand.

Btw, I recently got a Lumia 920, and office and OneNote are both amazing apps. Super smooth and highly productive. The synchronization over SkyDrive makes things even better. If MS can show this ecosystem to others, perhaps they will be more likely to go for more Microsoft services (like outlook.com, Xbox live, Xbox music, etc)