While many apps are definitely just for fun, the latest one from Microsoft is one of the most practical on the market.
Ideal for business people on the go, it is a new Microsoft Office app that will allow users to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on iOS.
Microsoft’s new app is being made available free of charge for users who subscribe to Office 365, a web-based platform which allows people to access Office through the cloud.
The app has just been launched in America, but will be rolled out in 136 different markets and 29 different languages within the next few days.
The new app is not only a bid by Microsoft to encourage users to access its programs more often and in innovative ways, but will be beneficial to Apple, which will take a percentage of subscriptions purchased through iPhone.
It is the latest indication that Apple is working more closely with Microsoft, coming after an announcement at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference that the Californian tech giant would be using Bing as its default search engine for Siri, rather than Google.
As a business tool, the new Office Mobile app could prove invaluable. It enables users to update their Office content from wherever they are on their phone, safe in the knowledge that the files will sync across all their devices so documents will be instantly updated.
Handily, for businessmen and women who travel a lot as part of their job, the files are stored in the cloud via SkyDrive. But, they are cached locally, meaning they can be accessed even when internet connection is unavailable or unreliable.
The downside is that PowerPoint presentations can’t be created through the new app, but both Word and Excel documents can and users will also be able to edit any documents that are sent in an email attachment.
Also, while the app itself may be free, subscription to Office 365 costs around $100 a year, although that could be money well spent if you need to work from a variety of locations.
When using MS Word, you’ll find yourself with a pared down version. You’ve got all the usual templates, outlines and blank pages
there – but there aren’t as many fonts or options for changing text colour and size.
And, those of you with less than perfect spelling could struggle as there isn’t a spell check or those handy red and green lines which pop up to warn you that you may have made an error in your spelling or grammar.
Excel follows pretty much the same lines. There are only three templates but you can use your data to create illustrations such as pie charts and bar graphs.
iPad users, however, are being left out completely as Microsoft is keen to keep the full-blown Office ecosystem to itself.
But, despite any shortcomings the new Office app is sure to prove popular with those who want to manage their time more efficiently.