It has been a long wait for Microsoft to bring Microsoft Office to the iOS platform, however it will finally be available in early 2013 according to a report by The Verge
. The report also shows off some screenshots of an early version of the application that may be disappointing for some users Ė especially those waiting for true Office functionality on their iOS device.
The Microsoft Office for iOS suite will be basic. This is important to realize because there are probably many other third party applications in the App Store that can do more than Microsoft Office for iOS will be able to do. It won't be anywhere near as pretty or feature-filled as Apple's iWork suite. Apart from lacking many features, Microsoft Office for iOS will also be adopting Microsoft's rather disliked metro UI style.
The Verge shares the below screenshots to help illustrate how the application will appear to users:
From what it looks like, you will need to have an Office 365 subscription to edit Microsoft Office files. Although the application itself will be free, the subscription will actually cost money. You will be able to view Microsoft Office files without the subscription, as the lone "View Excel Spreadsheets for free" button indicates.
You also appear to be able to download individual applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) within the Microsoft Office for iOS application almost like an in-app purchase, minus the purchase. This might be useful if someone only wanted Word, but didnít find a need for PowerPoint and Excel. It would save disk space too.
From the actual Office home view, you are given a tabbed interface, much like any iOS interface. From the Recent tab, you will be able to see all of your recent Office files organized for you by date. The Places and New tabs will allow you to manage your Office files, while the Settings tab will provide you with some extra options for your Office suite.
From the first screenshot in this article, which appears to be Microsoft Word because of the blue interface, you can see the rather limited functionality including a back button, an eye button, a write button, and an information button. The eye button will probably allow you to change the view of the document, while the write button may toggle the ability to start writing. The information button would show you details about the document much like Office for your computer already does.
I was hoping for better from Microsoft, but to each their own. Do the early screenshots meet your expectations for Microsoft Office for iOS?
Sources: The Verge