A new Office Mobile for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and iPad Mini has arrived in conjunction with Office 365 plans, and may be the precursor of additional, standalone options to come.
The big picture remains a bit fuzzy as far as Microsoft’s ultimate plans for an iOS-compatible version of Microsoft Office; however, this mobile app is a step in the right direction for those awaiting a Microsoft Office app for iOS.
Microsoft Mobile Office User Interface and Experience
If you have used Microsoft Office for Windows Phone, you will likely experience a similar feel in the user interface and modalities of Mobile Office for iOS, though not every feature available for Windows Phone will be offered through this app.
Compatibility – iOS Devices Office Mobile Works On
While this Office 365-integrated app was specifically built for iPhone 5, Office Mobile will run on the iOS 6.1 operating system or later, and on the following devices:
· iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5
· iPod touch (5th generation)
· iPad (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + 4G, iPad (4th generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (4th generation)
· iPad mini, iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular.
Programs Included in Office Mobile for iPhone
Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are included in the Mobile Office for iOS app.
Non-iPhone Device? Consider Sticking with Web Apps
While Microsoft Mobile Office is available for more than just iPhone, the software company has advised users of larger iOS devices such as the iPad to continue using the free Microsoft Office Web Apps. Otherwise, users may become frustrated with screen resolution and other issues.
Device Limits and Office 365 Subscriptions
Office 365 subscribers have grown familiar with the device limits imposed under these new monthly or annual plans, which is five devices for most plans.
The good news is, Office Mobile for iOS app installations, while also limited to five mobile devices, do not count against the limit of five devices for non-mobile versions of the suite. This means you could, for example, have five iPhones outfitted with Office Mobile as well as five installations of Office 2013 on your non-mobile PCs or Macs.
Office 365 Subscription Plans Enabling Office Mobile
Nearly all Office 365 subscription plans will allow you to add on use of Office Mobile for iOS, namely:
· Office 365 University (limited to two mobile devices, not five)
· Office 365 Small Business Premium
· Office 365 Midsize Business
· Office 365 Enterprise E3
· Office 365 Enterprise E4
· Office 365 Education A3
· Office 365 Education A4
· Office 365 ProPlus
Where to Get Office Mobile for iPhone
As of June 14, 2013, the Office Mobile for iPhone suite is free from the Apple store, but keep in mind you will need an Office 365 plan.
This is consistent with Microsoft’s push toward office subscriptions. For example, if you try to find a free trial of the latest version of Office, you will be directed to the Office 365 subscription site, not one for the desktop counterpart Office 2013.
Try Mobile Office for iOS and Office 365 for Free
You may be wondering how to try Mobile Office for iOS without committing to an Office 365 plan. Luckily, a 30-day free Office 365 trial will also allow you to test drive the Mobile Office app.
If you do jump in, please send word of your experience with the new apps. It’s an exciting step for Microsoft Office enthusiasts with iOS devices, and it will be interesting to see how well this solution addresses productivity needs.