Touch Enabled Office Likely Coming to iPad Sooner than to Windows

Better late than never, I always say…

ipad_officeThere are a number of reports – in fact, I’d say that we were bombarded by them at the start of the weekend last Friday – that Microsoft is planning on releasing a touch enabled version of Office for iPad before it will be released on Windows. This really doesn’t surprise me at all. In fact, I’d say better late  – like more than three years too late – than never. Quite frankly, it’s about time.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lamented over the fact that a Microsoft version of Office doesn’t exist for iOS. Code named Miramar, the word on the street is that it’s going to hit before the touch enabled version for Windows, code named Gemini.  This version of Office, however, is likely to be for iPad only, so don’t’ think you’re going to be able to turn your iPhone on its edge, grab a wireless keyboard and edit your next manuscript. That likely won’t happen. The information I’ve seen has this version of Office working on the iPad.

How this all comes together is still up in the air. Mary Jo Foley quotes Steve Ballmer from a little while back saying that Miramar would appear after Gemini (the metro version of Office – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) hit the market; but that may have changed near the end of 2013. It seems that Microsoft is trying actively trying to get Office for iPad to market as early in 2014 as it can.  Whether that’s before the end of Q2 or not, remains to be seen… The original scuttle-butt had Office for iPad hitting sometime in calendar Q3 of 2014.

The big unknown is how this will get to end-users.  The original rumors of this program had the app tied to some kind of Office 365 subscription.  In other words, you had to have THAT in order to get the app.  I see that as problematic. What about users who have purchased a product code vs. a subscription? How Microsoft will allow them to have access, if at all, remains to be seen. Regardless of how its licensed, you can count on Microsoft’s other services – like OneDrive – being built in. It’s doubtful that Office for iPad will use iCloud for document storage.

This could be the biggest CoIT BYOD bone that Microsoft could throw its home users. We’ve been screaming for a version of Office for iOS for YEARS (as I mentioned earlier). I know I’ve tried to pull together an “Apple iPad at Work” series for years.  My biggest problem has been that either I’ve had the wrong iPad (I have a 32GB iPad 1 that I purchased myself for Christmas in December of 2010) or the lack of a good Microsoft Office replacement has prevented me from really giving it a go.

My work habits, like those of many, no doubt, revolve around Microsoft Office created and managed documents. While there may be Microsoft Office substitutes for iOS out there, I’ve learned over the years that “Office compatible” doesn’t always mean “Office compatible.” Moving back and forth between tools often kills formatting in documents that are heavily formatted. Remaking or reapplying that level of customization is not something that I’d recommend to anyone.  There’s also the issue of touch screen type. Handwritten notes don’t work well on an iPad, I’ve learned, and that means that you really need to have a decent keyboard in order to use OneNote (and now Word) in order to get the most use out of the tools.

This is likely to make a lot of people happy; but at the same time, I’m not certain it’s going to drive a lot of sales.  Tying the tool to an Office 365 subscription may not be the wisest choice.  As I said, what about Office users who bought a product code?  What do they do to get access to the app? What about users who just want to use the iOS version and don’t want a subscription to Office 365?  Again, while many users may want this app, I don’t think it’s going to be something that will drive sales of the larger Office suite product(s).

After thinking on this a bit more, I really do think that Microsoft needs to get a decent handle on licensing and figure out how they will allow users to make use of the product. Another possible in may be via purchasing a OneDrive subscription.  I really don’t think that this is going to work with iCloud. If that’s the case, Microsoft could allow ANY iPad user use of the app, provided they have a paid OneDrive account. That would at least give everyone the opportunity to download and use the app.  Many users have more than one cloud-based storage solution (i.e., Dropbox AND iCloud, or OneDrive AND Google Drive) on their computing devices, whether they be laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone.

What do you think, though?  Is Microsoft Office on iPad something that you want?  Do you have an Office 365 or a Microsoft OneDrive subscription? Is this something that should be tied to a Microsoft subscription product, or is it something that should exist as a standalone product?  If it doesn’t, do you think it will help drive sales of Microsoft’s Office suite, or is it just a nice to have? I’d really like to hear your thoughts on the issue. Why don’t you join us in the discussion below and give us your thoughts on the issue?

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Apple Releases iOS 7 Beta 5 to Developers

Apple just recently made the latest beta of iOS7 available to developers.

Since the Apple Dev Center went down a number of days ago, I’ve been doing my best to follow the story.  There has been a lot of developments reported as functionality comes back online, (but very little on what’s going on with the security engineer rumored to have caused the outage in the first place.)

As such, during a routine check of the iOS Dev Center, I was recently greeted with a wonderful surprise. iOS7 Beta 5 has been released to developers today (and as early as Noon Central Time).

iOS7 Beta 5

The beta still has a number of known issues with

  • Address Book
  • AirDrop
  • Exchange
  • iCloud
  • etc.

and a number of other areas as well. Beta 4 was a dramatic improvement over Beta 3, but it still has its issues. I’ve reported bugs that are still open at this time.  There are issues that have been resolved according to the release notes, but I’m certain that a number of different issues are still lurking about.

Its clear from the release notes that there will be at least TWO more beta releases before the software RTM’s.  Given the number of active issues, however, my QA manager experience is telling me that it’s unlikely that the currently expected beta 6 and then RTM/GM release will occur. There seems to be a bit more work needed in order to insure that all issues and developer notes are addressed, implemented and understood.

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What’s hot in the second edition of the iPad 2

The new iPad 2 has arrived and ”redefines the category Apple created less than two years ago, delivering the most amazing experience people have ever had with technology,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Let’s take a look at the most important improvements.

First of all, there is a gorgeous high-resolution (2048 x 1536) Retina Display which  makes web pages, text, images and video look incredibly sharp and realistic and with 44 percent increased saturation, the colors are unbelievably richer, deeper and more vivid.

Second, the new iPad has a new A5 chip (A5x) with quad-core graphics which makes the iPad faster and more responsive to enjoy the benefits of the stunning new full 1080p HD-resolution.

The camera has been also improved (5MP) and it can now record full HD video and take better picture in low-light conditions. There is also a new video image stabilization feature which  removes the bumps and shakes typically seen when filming with a hand-held device.

iPad Wi-Fi + 4G has built-in next generation 4G LTE  for fast networks worldwide including HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA, and now both CDMA and GSM iPad users have the ability to easily roam internationally.

About battery life,  Apple announced that the new iPad will have 10 hours of battery life, same for the iPad2, and 9 hours when being used on AT&T’s or Verizon’s 4G LTE networks.

Pricing

The new iPad Wi-Fi models will be available in black or white on Friday, March 16 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16 GB model, $599 (US) for the 32 GB model and $699 (US) for the 64 GB model.

iPad Wi-Fi + 4G for either AT&T or Verizon will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16 GB model, $729 (US) for the 32 GB model and $829 (US) for the 64 GB model.

One more thing, the first edition iPad 2 is now offered at a more affordable price of $399 (US) for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model and just $529 (US) for the 16 GB Wi-Fi + 3G model.

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iPad 3 Rumors & Thoughts – Part 3: Release and Model Designation

Over that past couple blog entries, we’ve been looking at iPad 3 rumors. There’s been a lot of chatter, and we’ve looked at both hardware and software related gossip.  In this last iPad 3 hub-bub blog, let’s take a look at when, what, and which tablets will be available when.

 

Release Date
Last year, Apple’s iPad 2 was announced on 02, March.  Since Steve passed away, rumors have been mounting that the upgraded iPad 3 will be released on his birthday, or somewhere close.

It seems that this year’s announcement will be made at around the same timeframe as last year’s announcement.  Apple currently has an event scheduled for the first week of March. While the company hasn’t come out and either confirmed it or set the ACTUAL date, clearly point to an event in San Francisco at the beginning of next month. AllThingsD isn’t always correct, but they do seem to have the inside track on many things.  This rumor also seems to be accurate, as no one has come out to shoot it down.  Look for one or two more developments in this area – an actual event scheduling, or a “mea culpa” from ATD.

Device Designation – iPad 3, HD, or 2S
This and the last rumor I’ve heard and give credibility to are closely tied together.  The actual product name for the next generation iPad hasn’t been announced yet, and a credible, “it’s definitely gonna be called…” rumor has yet to hit the airwaves.

As far as my thoughts on this..? Again, that depends on one or two major marketing decisions. I’ve heard additional rumors that due to space considerations the A6 processor that is rumored to be used in the iPad 3 won’t be quad-core. A quad-core processor would be too big to fit in the body shapes that we’ve seen hitting rumors sites. As such, the A6 will be dual-core.

If the A6 is just a revamped or upgraded A5 dual-core processor, look for the next generation iPad to be called the iPad 2S. If iPad 3 gets the upgraded screen we’ve been talking about, even with the dual-core A6, look for the next generation iPad to be called the iPad HD or again, the 2S.

Apple seems in love with its “S” identifier for hardware models that offer differentiation, but not enough to warrant a new model designation. While the iPad HD designation really sounds sexy and may be favorably received, they’ve not used this type of designation on any other devices that sport HD screens (like their MacBook Pro’s that offer HD screens).  So, I really don’t see them using it for iPad. However, you can look for the iPad 3 designation to be used on a chassis/ device form factor redesign, like the one between the iPad and the iPad 2.

Available Models
Here’s where things get interesting… if the A6 dual-core rumors are true, I really do think that the iPad 3 will be released as the iPad 2S.  I also think at that point, that we’ll see a similar marketing move with it as we saw with the iPhone 4/4S – the older model will be reduced in price, will be made available in a single connectivity (Wi-Fi only) and storage size option (likely 16GB); and be sold alongside its newly introduced sibling.

The iPad 2 is a strong seller, and more importantly is a very capable tablet.  It seems logical that Apple would greatly reduce the price and capture even more of the tablet market with an iPad 2, priced at say, $299-$349.  If that happens, you’ll definitely see me pick up an iPad 2. If not, then I probably won’t, as my iPad 1 works just fine for what I do with it (eBooks and movies on the commute to and from work).

Wrapping it all up
Any way you slice it, Apple Watching is an interesting sport. It’s very difficult to channel their marketing people, and their intended direction.  The one thing that I can say with 100% certainty, however, is that 2012 plans to be a banner year for the most valuable company in the world. With the release of both the iPad 3/HD/2S and the iPhone 5 almost a certainty, Apple stock will continue its upward climb.  The company will capture more tablet, smartphone and enterprise market share, as consumers continue to fall in love with its products.

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Play one of the best adventure puzzle game on your iPad 2

Have you ever played Monkey Island, or Sam and Max Hit the Road ? Did you like it? Then you will surely like Machinarium. Machinarium is one of the best puzzle / adventure game I’ve ever played.

The game is about a little robot who’s been thrown out to the scrap yard behind the city walls. Rusty as it, the little robot wants something very badly: to save his robot-girl friend. Well, to do this, you’ll have to face many logical puzzles, adventure quests, brain teasers and mini-games. Now let me tell you some good news. This sweet adventure puzzle has just debuted on the iPad 2 as a $4.99 download. However, if you don’t have an iPad2, you can also play the game on your Mac or PC.

Check it out if you like puzzles, it really is worth the $4.99 ($10 for PC/Mac).
Play Demo | Buy the game for PC/MAC | Buy the game for iPad 2

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Will it blend? – iPad2

For the unconventional use of an iPad 2, we actually tried to take a look at how to obtain an iPad 2 smoothie. So, will it blend?

 

For those of you who missed this, here’s the first iPad blending.

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Apple iPad 2 is now delayed four to five weeks on its online store

iPad 2

iPad 2

Customers who order an iPad 2 via Apple’s online store will need to wait between four to five weeks for their tablet to arrive.

While Apple has not yet released official sales figures for the iPad 2’s first weekend of release, a selected number of analysts feel the company will sell between 500,000 and 600,000 of the next-generation tablets. In a March 8 research note, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicted that the tablet will sell 1 million units faster than its first-generation predecessor, which took 28 days to reach that mark. Part of the reason for the quicker sales, he argued, is the iPad’s availability at a broader collection of retail stores.

On March 14, the iPad 2’s first day of wide release, eWEEK toured around three Apple stores in Manhattan and found similarly long lines at each. Across the country, Apple’s retail partners—including Best Buy, Walmart, Target, AT&T and Verizon—reported shortages and outright sellouts of the tablet.

Heading midway into its first week of release, Apple repeatedly pushed back the expected shipping date for online iPad 2 sales, from 2 to 3 weeks to nearly twice as long. Whether by intention or genuine inability to deal with a flood of orders, other Apple products have endured similar delays and pushbacks in launches past. Apple’s iPhone 4, for example, led to a meltdown of both Apple’s and AT&T’s ordering systems on the first day of presales, followed by the pushback of the preorder shipment date.

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Apple launches iPad 2

Apple introduces iPad 2, the next generation of its magical device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading ebooks and much more. iPad 2 features an entirely new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad, while maintaining the same stunning 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen. iPad 2 features Apple’s new dual-core A5 processor for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics and now includes two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime® and Photo Booth®, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video, bringing the innovative FaceTime feature to iPad users for the first time. Though it is thinner, lighter, faster and packed with new features, iPad 2 still delivers up to 10 hours of battery life* that users have come to expect. iPad 2 is available in black or white, features models that run on AT&T’s and Verizon’s 3G networks, and introduces the innovative iPad 2 Smart Cover in a range of vibrant polyurethane and rich leather colors.

“With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we’re launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again.”

With the new front and rear cameras, iPad 2 users can now make FaceTime calls to millions of iPhone® 4, iPod touch® and Mac® users so they can see family and friends anywhere there is Wi-Fi. Photo Booth lets you apply fun visual effects, including eight photo special effects like Squeeze, Twirl and Kaleidoscope, to photos captured by either camera.

iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3, the latest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, with new features including faster Safari® mobile browsing performance; iTunes® Home Sharing; enhancements to AirPlay®;** the choice to use the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute audio; and Personal Hotspot to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.*** Additional iPad 2 features include a built-in gyro for advanced gaming; HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds on iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G on AT&T, and HDMI Video Mirroring that lets users mirror their iPad screen on an HDTV using an optional adaptor.

The innovative new iPad 2 Smart Cover provides protection for the iPad screen while maintaining its thin and lightweight profile. Designed with a unique self-aligning magnetic hinge that makes it easy to attach and remove, the new iPad 2 Smart Cover automatically wakes iPad 2 when it’s opened and puts it to sleep when it’s closed, and has a soft microfiber lining to help keep the screen clean. The Smart Cover also folds into a stand for typing or viewing videos and is available in vibrant polyurethane for $39 or rich leather for $69 in a range of colors, including a (PRODUCT) RED one which helps support the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Apple also introduced two new apps: iMovie® and GarageBand® for iPad, both available on the App Store℠ for just $4.99 each. With iMovie, iPad 2 users can shoot and edit videos right on their iPad and post their movies to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and their MobileMe℠ gallery; watch them on their iPod®, iPhone or iPad; as well as view them on their HDTV using AirPlay and Apple TV®. GarageBand turns your iPad into a collection of touch instruments and 8-track recording studio, allowing you to perform with onscreen keyboards, guitars, drums and basses using multi-touch gestures–even if you don’t play a musical instrument.

iPad 2 runs almost all of the over 350,000 apps available on the App Store and there are more than 65,000 native iPad apps available from an incredible range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. The iTunes Store gives iPad users access to the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over 14 million songs, over 50,000 TV episodes and over 10,000 films including over 3,500 in stunning high definition video. The iBooks® app for iPad includes Apple’s iBookstore℠, the best way to browse, buy and read books on a mobile device.

Pricing & Availability
iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on March 11 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G compatible with the Verizon network will be available in the US only for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 will be sold in the US through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iMovie and GarageBand for iPad apps will be available on March 11 for $4.99 each from the App Store on iPad or www.itunes.com/appstore.

iPad 2 will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK on March 25; and in many more countries around the world in the coming months. Further international availability and pricing will be announced at a later date.

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